The Indian Army on Monday decided to classify its personnel returning from leave as “red”, “yellow” and “green” based on their Covid-19 status, the Hindustan Times reported. The classification is based on the government’s decision to mark districts in the country with these three colours, based on the number of Covid-19 cases.

“All personnel reporting back from leave, temporary duty and courses will be classified as ‘yellow’ and will undergo 14 days quarantine at the reporting station/unit,” the new instructions read. “They will subsequently be moved from reporting station to duty stations and units in army vehicles, special trains, etc.”

Those who have completed their quarantine period and do not test positive for the coronavirus will be classified as “green”. On the other hand, those soldiers who are symptomatic and require isolation and treatment in hospitals will be placed in the “red” category.

The top priority for rejoining duty has been accorded to those soldiers whose units or duty stations are within 500 km by private transport from their place of leave. Top priority has also been given to all ranks of the operationally-critical Northern Command and personnel belonging to Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service, since these ranks will help in combating Covid-19.

The second highest priority for rejoining duty has been accorded to “all ranks of Eastern Command plus officers and key appointments of other Commands as decided by the respective Commands,” the instructions said.

The directives said that Army officers from Nepal who are on leave should remain at their home stations till the coronavirus situation in that country stabilises, and the government opens the border, PTI reported.

However, the directives will not apply to those living in hotspot areas or containment zones. These personnel will have to comply with an earlier instruction of “no movement” till these areas are denotified.

Last week, Army chief MM Naravane said that eight Covid-19 cases have been found in the Army. “Two of them are doctors and one is a nursing assistant,” he said. “Four are responding well to treatment. We had one case in Ladakh, now he has fully recovered and joined duty.”

India has been under a complete lockdown since March 25 to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected over 17,600 people in the country so far. The lockdown will end on May 3. Certain business activities were allowed to resume from Monday in non-hotspot areas.