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(LEAD) American citizen working for USFK tests positive for coronavirus, total at 18

All News 16:57 April 04, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead with latest info; ADDS more details in paras 2-4)

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- An American employee of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday, bringing the total number of USFK-related infections to 18, the military said.

The civilian contractor working at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, is currently in isolation at his off-base residence, according to USFK. He last visited the base on Wednesday, and the South Korean and the U.S. authorities are conducting contact tracing to determine whether anyone else may have been exposed, USFK said.

It marked the second straight day that a COVID-19 case was confirmed at the air base near Camp Humphreys, where the USFK's headquarters is located.

After reporting the first patient on Friday, USFK shut down part of the Osan base, as the military brought its Health Protection Condition Levels (HPCON) a notch higher to "Charlie Plus" or "C+" for the base.

Across the peninsula, the military remains at a level of "high" risk, and USFK Commander Gen. Robert Abrams declared a public health emergency to issue related guidance and enforce compliance.

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)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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