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(LEAD) Another USFK employee in Daegu tests positive for virus, total at 9

All News 15:14 March 10, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean employee of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) stationed in the southeastern city of Daegu has tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of USFK-related infection cases to nine, the military said Tuesday.

The patient, who works at Camp Walker, is now in isolation at her off-base residence, USFK said, adding that authorities are "actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether anyone else may have been exposed."

Daegu, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, has been the heart of South Korea's coronavirus outbreak, with the number of patients in the city skyrocketing due to a cluster of infections centered on the Shincheonji religious sect.

USFK remains at risk level "high" peninsula-wide and is implementing all appropriate control measures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the force, it said.

Amid mounting concerns over the new coronavirus, the U.S. Department of the Army has ordered its soldiers and their families to stop movement to and from South Korea until early May.

USFK has also designated the central city of Cheonan as the latest "USFK hotspot" visited by COVID-19 patients, following the designation of Daegu.

"USFK personnel living in Cheonan are temporarily deemed non-mission essential and will not report for duty unless authorized," it said. "USFK personnel deemed mission essential will travel directly to and from work."

Earlier, the U.S. military said one of its South Korean employees living in Cheonan has tested positive for the new virus, marking the first coronavirus case reported at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek. Camp Humphreys, south of Seoul, is the location of USFK headquarters.

Seen here is a gate of the U.S. base Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul. The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said in a tweet on March 8, 2020, that the U.S. Department of the Army has ordered its soldiers and their families to stop movement to and from South Korea amid concerns over the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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