Military in fear of COVID-19 spreading

25-Feb-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

With the number of members who tested positive for the virus reaching 13, concerns are mounting that the COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) could spread fast in the military where service members share limited spaces.

As of Monday, 10 Army members and one each from the Navy, Air Force and Marines have been confirmed to have contracted the novel virus. Among them, three who were newly confirmed over Sunday night belong to an Army unit in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, and they are suspected of having been infected from another soldier there who had already been confirmed on Saturday after going on a leave to Daegu, the epicenter of the epidemic.

The spread of the virus in the country has faced a second wave after a “super-spreading event” took place at a branch of the Shincheonji Church in Daegu.

The military quarantined those infected service members, but they are believed to have contacted other members before being isolated, raising the possibility of more confirmed cases.

“As the government raised the COVID-19 alert level to the highest ‘red’ on the four-tier system, the military has been actively supporting the whole governmental and regional support while strengthening measures to prevent the spread of the virus inside the military,” said the Ministry of National Defense deputy spokesman Moon Hong-sik.

More than 7,800 service members and their family members have been quarantined due to their suspected contact with confirmed patients, according to the ministry.

The Military Manpower Administration has also suspended all physical examination for conscription of new draftees at all of its regional branches for two weeks starting Monday.

Meanwhile, the United States Forces Korea (USFK) is keeping strong preventative control measures in place, while a family member of a USFK service member in Daegu has been confirmed to have contracted the virus. The COVID-19 cases have occurred in 17 major provinces and cities including Seoul, Daegu, Busan and Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi Province, those near USFK bases. The USFK has restricted its service members’ non-essential travel to and from Daegu and banned their access to some locations in Daegu and Pyeongtaek.


Category: Korea

Print This Post