US military hikes base security worldwide as coronavirus cases rise

File photo of US Defense Secretary Mark Esper during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington. (AP)

The US military announced on Wednesday it was elevating its health-related security level at bases worldwide over the spread of the coronavirus, as it acknowledged the persistent growth in the rate of infections across the force.

The Pentagon said it was raising its health protection condition, or HPCON, to Charlie, its second highest level, which suggests sustained community transmission. The Pentagon announced 53 new cases of infected servicemembers on Wednesday, bringing the worldwide total to 227.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

"Our curve is not flattening. And that's why we went to HPCON Charlie today, which includes restrictions on large gatherings and includes additional social distancing," Air Force Brigadier General Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff Surgeon, told a news conference.

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Last Update: 19:20 KSA 22:20 - GMT 19:20
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