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Three more service members test positive for coronavirus linked to Itaewon club case

All News 11:10 May 11, 2020

SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- Three more military officers tested positive for the coronavirus Monday after eating with a colleague of the same unit confirmed to have the virus after visiting clubs in Seoul's multicultural district of Itaewon, the defense ministry said Monday.

The new cases -- all at the Cyber Command under the direct wing of the defense ministry -- brought the total number of the COVID-19 infections among the military population to 46 and the number of Itaewon-linked cases to seven, according to the ministry.

On Friday, a staff sergeant of the command tested positive for the virus following a visit to Itaewon clubs earlier this month in breach of the military's restrictions on making off-base travels. Then, two of his colleagues -- a senior officer and an enlisted soldier -- were found to have contracted the virus.

"The three officers are believed to have the virus after eating together with the staff sergeant," a ministry official said.

Separately, an Army captain in Yongin, south of Seoul, was reported to have contracted the virus Saturday after visiting an Itaewon club.

Currently, around 1,268 military personnel are quarantined as a precaution in accordance with the military's strict coronavirus prevention guidelines. In terms of the ordinary guidelines for civilians, only 136 of them are required to be in isolation, according to the ministry.

South Korea has seen an unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases linked to Itaewon since last week.

On Monday, the country reported 35 more cases of the new coronavirus, the biggest single day spike since April 9, bringing the nation's total infections to 10,909, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

People pass by a club in the multicultural district of Itaewon in Seoul on May 7, 2020. The club was shut down after some of its visitors tested positive for the coronavirus recently. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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