March 18, 2020 / 7:40 PM / 22 days ago

Pentagon puts units on alert with over 1,000 beds to assist coronavirus response

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Wednesday that it had put on alert medical units with over 1,000 beds in case they were needed to help relieve the pressure on medical facilities dealing with the coronavirus.

“They are deployable beds in a variety of different units ... these are tent-based units, these are not, we are going to come and build a hospital in 10 days or anything like that,” Joint Staff Surgeon Air Force Brigadier General Paul Friedrichs told a Pentagon news briefing. Friedrichs said the beds were in addition to those that could be provided by two medical ships.

During the same briefing, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said that on Tuesday the U.S. Air Force had transported 500,000 swabs used for coronavirus testing from Italy to Memphis.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Chris Reese

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