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Failure to disclose COVID-19 symptoms by Army personnel will lead to punitive action

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New Delhi, Mar 31: Army personnel concealing symptoms for COVID-19 and failing to disclose contact with infected persons and travel details to areas having cases of the infection will face punitive action under the Army Act.

The Army headquarters sent an advisory to all the Army bases, formations and wings prescribing specific measures to insulate the 1.3 million force from the coronavirus and warning about punitive action if the norms are breached.

Failure to disclose COVID-19 symptoms by Army personnel will lead to punitive action

The advisory said it has been made "obligatory" for all ranks to immediately disclose any symptoms of COVID-19 like cough, throat pain, fever, breathing difficulty to concerned authorities.

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All Army personnel will also be required to immediately inform the designated medical teams if they come in contact with any coronavirus infected person while on leave or during travel, officials said.

The advisory also made it mandatory to disclose visit to any area identified by the the government as having coronavirus infection.

It mentioned that any Army personnel flouting the directives will be tried under the Army Act, 1950, on charges of violation of service discipline.

The Army headquarters also issued instructions saying transit facilities comprising provisions for testing of personnel suspected to be suffering from COVID-19 should be identified by command headquarters, officials said.

On Sunday, a doctor and a junior commissioned officer in the Indian Army tested positive for coronavirus. The Colonel-rank doctor is serving at the Command Hospital in Kolkata while the JCO is posted to an Army base in Dehradun.

A couple of weeks back, an Army jawan tested positive for COVID-19. The soldier was on leave at his home in Leh.

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India has recorded a total of 1,071 positive cases of coronavirus and at least 29 deaths so far. Globally, the virus has infected more than 700,000 people and claimed more than 32,000 lives.

On Friday, Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane launched an initiative christened 'Operation Namaste' to insulate the 1.3 million strong Army from the pandemic and extend all possible assitance to the government in containing it.

Gen Naravane asked all Army personnel to take prescribed precautions against the virus.

"I would request everyone to take care of themselves and their families. Your safety is my first responsibility," the Army Chief said.

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