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(LEAD) Military reports no fresh coronavirus cases, total at 39

All News 11:34 March 24, 2020

(ATTN: CLARIFIES 6th para; ADDS more details in paras 7-9)

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- The military reported no additional cases of the new coronavirus among its population Tuesday, with the total number of infections standing at 39, the defense ministry said.

Thirty-four COVID-19 patients are active-duty service members, and the remaining five are civilians working for the military, the ministry said, adding that 21 were in the Army, 14 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.

Of the total, 24 have fully recovered from the new virus, according to the ministry.

As a preventive step, around 1,750 service members are quarantined at their bases. Of them, about 180 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.

South Korea reported 76 new cases of the new virus Tuesday, bringing the nation's total number of infections to 9,037, including 120 deaths, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

In line with the nationwide campaign of social distancing, military authorities have implemented tougher guidelines since Saturday, banning service personnel from personal gatherings, business trips and sports or religious activities until April 5, the ministry said Tuesday.

Vacationing and meeting visitors will also continue to be banned until then, rules that have been in place since late February when the military saw the first suspected virus case among service members.

"The authorities are trying to help soldiers released from virus quarantine better adapt to barracks life," a ministry official said.

About 3,100 service personnel and ministry officials, including 453 military medical staff, have been mobilized to support pan-governmental anti-virus efforts, such as quarantining and disinfection work, the ministry added.

Soldiers spray disinfectant at a library in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on March 23, 2020. (Yonhap)

Soldiers spray disinfectant at a library in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on March 23, 2020. (Yonhap)


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