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Soldiers in Daegu areas banned from leaving bases, meeting visitors

All News 13:35 February 20, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- The military has banned service personnel in the southeastern city of Daegu from leaving their bases, including for vacations, and meeting with visitors in the wake of a surge in new coronavirus cases in the region, the defense ministry said Thursday.

Of the 82 confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far, 48 were reported in the southeastern region, and the figure is feared to grow further as most of the Daegu patients were found to have attended the same church services that brought together around 1,000 people.

"We issued several precautionary measures for military units in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province areas yesterday night, effective immediately," ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo told a regular briefing, adding that the ministry is reviewing whether to quarantine soldiers who have visited Daegu areas recently.

Currently, around 300 soldiers are in isolation, as they have either visited China, Hong Kong or Macao in the past 14 days or had contact with people who traveled to those places, according to the ministry.

The ministry also decided to hold the entrance ceremonies of the military academies in a scaled-back manner without inviting family members and acquaintances of their freshmen.

"No suspected or confirmed cases of the new coronavirus have been reported among service personnel. The ministry continues to seek diverse preventive steps to prevent the spread of the virus into barracks," Choi added.

Soldiers and police officers conduct joint anti-terrorism drills while wearing masks in Jinhae, South Korea, on Feb. 11, 2020, in this photo provided by the Defense Media Agency. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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