US Military Cancels Drills In Philippines Over COVID-19 Fears

US Military Cancels Drills in Philippines Over COVID-19 Fears

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 27th March, 2020) The United States has canceled its annual military drills in the Philippines slated for early March due to the situation with COVID-19 pandemic, the US Indo-Pacific Command said.

"Due to concerns for the health and safety of the participating exercise forces and local populations near the planned exercise areas, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has canceled Exercise Balikatan 2020 scheduled for May 4-15 in the Republic of the Philippines," the command said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Balikatan is the annual exercise between the United States and the Philippines and the maneuvers also involve the participation of Australian troops this year.

As of Friday morning, there were nearly 86,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 1,300 fatalities in the United States, according to the data provided the Johns Hopkins University. Thus, the United States has overtaken China as the country with the largest number of infections with the disease.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11.

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