Air Force using isolation pods to evacuate military, government COVID-19 patients overseas

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The US Air Force has begun to use special isolation pods to transport coronavirus patients from Afghanistan to Germany, a monumental landmark for the new system designed to keep flight and medical crews safe.

Utilized in response to several US Government contractors testing positive for coronavirus in Afghanistan, the pods were fitted aboard C-17 cargo aircraft under the supervision of medical professionals.

Within 24 hours of the April 8th mobilization request set forth by the US Transportation Command, a skilled team of aeromedical evacuation specialists, Critical Care Air Transport Team members, infectious disease doctors, and technicians were sent to the mountainous nation to retrieve the Americans.

The Air Mobility Command’s 618th Air Operations Center had C-17s ready to go at the time of the order, stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

“Through the meticulous effort of AMC’s planners over the past few weeks, in coordination with U.S. Transportation Command, we’ve produced a detailed plan that guides our crews on how to safely and effectively move ill patients to a location where they can receive greater care, all while providing protection for our aircrew, medical personnel, and aircraft,” said Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas, commander of the 618th AOC, in a release.

The pods- known as the Transportation Isolation System- were developed in 2014 in response to the Ebola outbreaks of the past, and the April 10 mission marked its first use in response to coronavirus.

According to Air Force Magazine, Air Force Materiel Command is developing a new system, called the Portable Bio-Containment Module, for the long-term infectious patient transport mission. 

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