A military recruitment memo sent out by the US Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM) outlines that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to join the military — even after they recover.
The memo has been widely circulating on social media and was first reported on by Military Times on Wednesday. Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell confirmed to Military Times that the memo is authentic.
According to the memo, all 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) around the country will implement new guidelines for determining the medical qualifications of enlisting recruits.
According to Military Times, all new recruits will have their temperature taken and will answer questions about symptoms and potential contacts with those who have been exposed to COVID-19.
The memo states that during the prescreen process, “a reported history of confirmed COVID-19 will be annotated as ‘Considered Disqualifying'” and documented on their medical report.
It adds that during the medical history interview or examination part of their application, “a history of COVID-19 confirmed by either a laboratory test or clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying.”
It is unclear why a COVID-19 diagnosis would be permanently disqualifying for new recruits. Representatives for MEPCOM did not immediately respond to Business Insider for comment.
According to Stars and Stripes, over 1,500 service members in the US military had tested positive for the new coronavirus as of April 6. That number includes service members who have since recovered.