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(LEAD) Gov't to further suspend checkups for potential draftees due to coronavirus

All News 14:40 April 06, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES last 3 paras with latest info, more details)

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- Physical checkups for potential draftees will be further postponed as part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus at military barracks, the military manpower agency said Monday.

The Military Manpower Administration (MMA) had planned to resume the checkups next Monday, which have been halted since Feb. 24 over the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but decided to extend the suspension for another week.

"It is in line with the government's social distancing guidelines," the agency said in a release. "But those who are subject to reexamination or who are supposed to join the military next month can go through the checkup."

All able-bodied South Korean men must serve for about two years.

The military authorities have implemented diverse measures to stop the spread of the virus into the barracks, such as the restriction of soldiers' off-installation travel and the suspension of training for reserve forces.

As of early Monday, the number of the coronavirus cases in the military remained at 39, with the last confirmed case being reported March 25. Of them, 32 were fully recovered, according to the defense ministry.

As a preventive step, around 1,860 service members are being quarantined at their bases. Among them, seven have either shown symptoms or had direct contact with infected patients. The remainder recently visited the southeastern city of Daegu, the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province or virus-hit foreign nations, the ministry said.

Nationwide, the total number of the virus patients stood at 10,284, including 186 deaths.

This file photo taken Feb. 3, 2020, shows aspiring soldiers wearing masks having their blood taken during a medical checkup at the Seoul office of the Military Manpower Administration as part of the year's first batch of applicants evaluated by the office. All able-bodied South Korean males are required to serve roughly two years in the military. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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