WASHINGTON, April 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Department of Defense extended its freeze order on the movement of U.S. troops through June 30 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a Pentagon official announced on Saturday.
Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew Donovan said in a briefing that the new order, which comes into force on Monday, would include eased restrictions and more exemptions allowed compared to the previous order.
Donovan said the latest extension order is "a necessary measure to keep our people safe and our military ready," adding that Defense Secretary Mark Esper would review the policy every 15 days.
Last month, Esper issued an order to stop movements of overseas U.S. forces for up to 60 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the military.
The Department of Defense reported nearly 3,000 COVID-19 cases among U.S. services members as of 5 a.m. April 17.