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(LEAD) Military medics, soldiers to be mobilized for Wuhan evacuees over coronavirus

All News 15:32 February 11, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS military academies' plan on entrance ceremonies in paras 8-9)

SEOUL, Feb. 11 (Yonhap) -- Around 20 military doctors, nurses and ordinary service personnel will be assigned to temporary accommodation for evacuees from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

The government plans to send a third flight to Wuhan later Tuesday to evacuate about 170 South Koreans and their Chinese spouses and immediate family members. The plane is scheduled to arrive back in Seoul on Wednesday morning.

They will then stay at the Korea Defense Language Institute in Icheon, 80 kilometers southeast of Seoul, for 14 days, the incubation period of the virus.

"As part of the government-wide support team, the military will send about 20 people to the institute for medical support and facility management," ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo told a regular briefing.

About 90 service personnel from foreign countries, who are currently taking language courses there, will be moved to another government facility located in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, for continued education and training, she added.

As part of efforts to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading into barracks, the military authorities quarantine about 1,000 soldiers as of Tuesday, according to the ministry. The soldiers have either visited China, Hong Kong or Macao in the past 14 days or had contact with people who traveled to those places.

"No confirmed or suspected cases have been reported among our service personnel. We've been thoroughly implementing related preemptive measures," a ministry official said.

The authorities also decided to hold the entrance ceremonies of the military academies of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force in a scaled-back manner without inviting family members and acquaintances of their freshmen, according to the officials.

Instead, the ceremonies will be broadcast live via social network service platforms of the schools, they added.

On Tuesday, South Korea reported one additional case of the new virus, bringing the total to 28, health authorities said.

Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo (C) looks over the Korea Defense Language Institute in Icheon, 80 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Feb. 20, 2020, which will house the third group of South Korean residents and their Chinese family members who will be airlifted to South Korea, in this photo provided by his office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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