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WASHINGTON — A Marine stationed at a base near Washington, D.C., has been diagnosed with coronavirus — puzzling the Pentagon as to how he contracted the disease.
The Marine stationed at Fort Belvoir tested positive Saturday after returning from overseas on official business, according to a Department of Defense statement. He had been in Ethiopia.
There are no reported cases of COVID-19, the official name for coronavirus, in Ethiopia, according to the World Health Organization. Ethiopia is home to one of Africa’s busiest international airline hubs and has stepped up its preparedness to contain a potential outbreak of COVID-19, according to news reports.
Ethiopia is Africa’s second populous nation with an estimated population of over 107 million. It has four international airports and 21 land border crossing points.
The infected Marine is being treated at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, the Defense Department said. Fort Belvoir is about 21 miles south of Washington, D.C., in Virginia.
He is the third service member diagnosed with COVID-19. A sailor in Italy and a soldier in South Korea, and that solider’s spouse, have been confirmed to have the illness.
Also, a U.S. Army soldier deployed to Kuwait was put under observation to determine if he has contracted the virus.
On Sunday, the Army announced further restrictions on service members’ travel to and from Italy and South Korea — two countries that are hot zones for COVID-19. The Pentagon previously announced reductions in training exercises with some foreign troops, keeping ships out to sea to self-self-quarantine and limiting leaves from certain overseas bases.