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(LEAD) 960 soldiers quarantined over new coronavirus: defense ministry

Defense 10:51 February 05, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead with latest info; ADDS more details in paras 2-5; RESTRUCTURES)

SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- Around 960 soldiers remained quarantined Wednesday as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus to barracks, the defense ministry said.

The quarantined soldiers have either visited China, Hong Kong or Macao in the past 14 days, or had contact with people who traveled to those places.

"Of them, about 140 soldiers themselves visited those countries, and the remainder contacted such visitors," the ministry said.

Some 330 service personnel have been at their residences, while 630 others have been put in isolation at their bases, it added.

As of Wednesday, South Korea has 18 confirmed cases. No cases have been reported among service personnel.

An Army soldier showed some symptoms following a trip to China late last month, but he tested negative for the new coronavirus on Tuesday, according to the ministry.

"He will continue to be quarantined in consideration of the incubation period," it said.

The virus is believed to have originated in China's central city of Wuhan, and its incubation period is about 14 days.

A soldier has her temperature taken by a sentry at the gate of an Army unit in the town of Goyang, near Seoul, on Feb. 4, 2020, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus that has broken out in China. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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