A 34-year-old jawan of the Indian Army in Leh tested positive for COVID-19, making it the first case in the armed forces. He contracted it from his father who returned from Iran recently.

The jawan from Ladakh Scouts went on casual leave from February 25 to March 1 and rejoined the unit on March 2, Army sources said.

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

“His father returned from Iran after a pilgrimage by Air India flight on February 27 and was quarantined from February 29 at Ladakh Heart Foundation,” an Army source said. Even though the soldier rejoined from leave, he was helping his family even during the quarantine period and was staying at Chuchot village for some time, the source stated.

The jawan’s father tested positive for COVID-19 on March 6 and was isolated at SNM Hospital. “The jawan was also quarantined on March 7 and tested positive on March 16 at 2230h and was isolated at the SNM Hospital,” the source stated.

His sister, wife and two children have also been quarantined at the SNM Heart Foundation.

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On Tuesday, as precautionary measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 in the rank and file, the Army has postponed all courses starting from March 23 and cancelled all non-essential training, conferences and movements. However, courses in progress would continue with precautions, sources said.

Some Army officers have expressed concern on training and exercises being carried out in Rajasthan despite COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic.

“Soldiers belonging to different parts of the country are camping in the open and carrying out mass training activities near Suratgarh which is a potential threat to the locals,” one officer there stated. A directive on exercises is also expected to be issued shortly.