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Top National Guard general refutes nationwide coronavirus quarantine rumors

A top National Guard general on Friday refuted false rumors of martial law and a nationwide quarantine as troops continue to get called up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I hear unfounded rumors about #NationalGuard troops supporting a nationwide quarantine,” tweeted Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “Let me be clear: There has been no such discussion.”

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Lengyel’s tweet comes as many people across the U.S. reported receiving text messages warning of martial law, prompting authorities to assure residents the messages were fake.

U.S. defense officials have warned that foreign bad actors could use this uncertain time to plant bad rumors in order to panic the American public.

Governors across the country continue to deploy Guard troops in response to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 3,000 have been activated in nearly 30 states to help with efforts to contain the outbreak.

Troops in New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Louisiana and Michigan, among other states, are supporting relief efforts. Their mission includes disinfecting public spaces, distributing food, assisting with transportation and logistical support of health officials, and collecting and delivering samples, the Guard said in a news release.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday said there are plans to bring coronavirus test kits from Italy to the U.S. The announcement comes days after the Air Force delivered 500,000 medical swabs to Memphis to be distributed around the country by the Department of Health and Human Services.

To prevent further infections, Army leaders said they were taking extra precautions by closing recruiting stations.

“We are going to basically virtual recruiting, much of that is done on social media and that allows us to protect our soldiers and also protect the new recruits,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told reporters at the Pentagon.

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A handful of recruits were found to have symptoms of the virus, the Army Times reported. The branch has reduced the number of trainees and is at 50 percent capacity for recruit intakes, according to the paper.

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report. 

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