(2nd LD) Military reports no additional cases of new virus for 5th day
(ATTN: CHANGES photo; ADDS minister's visit to Armed Forces Medical Command in last 2 paras)
By Choi Soo-hyang
SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) -- The military reported no additional cases of the new coronavirus among service personnel for the fifth straight day Monday, with the total number of infections remaining unchanged at 38.
Of the total COVID-19 cases, 21 were in the Army, 13 in the Air Force, two in the Marine Corps, and one each in the Navy and a unit under the direct control of the ministry, the defense ministry said.
The numbers include 12 personnel -- eight in the Army and four in the Air Force -- who have fully recovered from the new virus.
Around 2,150 service members are currently quarantined in a preventive measure. Of them, some 150 have either shown symptoms or had direct contact with infected patients, while the remainder recently visited the southeastern city of Daegu, its surrounding North Gyeongsang Province or virus-hit foreign nations, including China, the ministry said.
As of midnight, South Korea had reported 8,236 confirmed cases of the novel virus, including 75 deaths.
Ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo said that additional military personnel will be mobilized to help with government efforts to strengthen quarantine checks on visitors arriving from Europe.
On Monday, the government expanded the special procedures to arrivals from all European countries, up from the previous six -- Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Britain and the Netherlands. South Korea has also been implementing similar measures for arrivals from China, Japan, Iran, Hong Kong and Macao.
"We have received a request for support regarding the latest decision, and our personnel will be dispatched to where necessary starting tomorrow," Choi said during a regular press briefing.
The ministry has currently mobilized 2,270 service personnel, including 446 medical staff, across the country to support the government's quarantine efforts.
Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo visited the Armed Forces Medical Command and a military hospital in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, later in the day and highlighted the need for a long-term response plan to nonmilitary security threats such as the new coronavirus.
Jeong also called for research to make the armed forces better prepared for infectious diseases.
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