DOD COVID-19 Testing Prior to OCONUS Travel

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Here’s a cut/pasted message from MyNavyHR:

The dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires the implementation of measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread outside the Continental United States (OCONUS).  Many countries now require negative test results before arrival, driving a significant new requirement for our OCONUS travelers.  I recently released the attached NAVADMIN and Fact Sheet explaining the current state of these complex requirements, as well as MyNavy HR’s procedures to help support our Sailors and their families:

Highlights of these new requirements include the following:

Service members and/or family members must do the following:

·        Possess, and present on request, proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test (antigen or PCR) administered within 72 hours of embarkation for OCONUS travel for each traveling family member for all Patriot Express (rotator) flights as well as commercial flights.  Of note, the NAVADMIN provides additional guidance for individuals who have been previously infected with COVID-19 and may therefore exhibit positive test results, depending upon the type of test administered and other factors.

·        Review the Foreign Clearance Guide (https://www.fcg.pentagon.mil/Fcg.cfm) for exact entry requirements for the final destination, such as type of test required and requirements for when the test must be administered relative to arrival date.  The Department of State also offers the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) (https://step.state.gov) for a free service enabling travelers to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and receive updates from the embassy regarding updated travel requirements and local conditions.  FYSA, we will start including the recommendation for STEP enrollment within transfer orders.

·        Plan their intermediate travel and leave to ensure time is allowed for required testing in accordance with the required timeline for their mode of travel and the final destination.  These plans should include where the Sailor and family member will have their COVID-19 tests administered.  Options include various MTFs as well as commercial sites offering viral tests.  Testing at commercial sites will likely incur expenses which are not covered by TRICARE, but will be refunded via the travel claim in accordance with the Joint Travel Regulations.  Additional information can be found in the NAVADMIN as well as on MyNavy Portal, https://www.mnp.navy.mil.

·        Be prepared to execute ROM procedures for the entire family unit in the event of a positive test for any member of the family.  The NAVADMIN provides more in-depth information for this eventuality, but understanding that the appropriate steps to be taken in these cases will vary, the My Navy Career Center (MNCC) call center is available 24/7 by phone and email.  Agents will assist Sailors in coordinating communications with their detailers, the Navy Passenger Transportation Office (NAVPTO) and the OPNAV COVID Taskforce Liaison.  As commercial COVID testing and ROM-related expenses can be significant, we highly recommend use of the Government Travel Credit Card (GTCC) or advanced travel pay for travel expenses while on official orders to minimize the impact to the Sailor’s personal finances.

In addition to requirements for Sailors and their families, the NAVADMIN directs specific actions for Command Pay and Personnel Administrators (CPPA) in order to support their detaching Sailors and provide Navy with records of testing plans established by Sailors.  Specific requirements include:

·    Notifying members of testing requirements for their destination

·    Maintaining records of service members’ testing plans to include the intended facility and date

·    Providing detaching members with command contact information for reach-back capability as needed.

In this highly complex environment, we will continue our coordination with the OPNAV COVID Task Force to ensure we provide our Sailors and Commanders with up-to-date guidance on testing requirements, ROM procedures, and the future updates to these policies anticipated in conjunction with more widespread SARS-CoV-2 vaccination.

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