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11 American soldiers newly assigned to S. Korea test positive for new coronavirus

Defense 16:27 July 13, 2020

SEOUL, July 13 (Yonhap) -- Eleven more American service members newly assigned to South Korea have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the U.S. military said Monday, amid rising concerns about increases in imported cases.

The announcement came after U.S. Forces Korea reported nine new virus cases on Friday, many of them in newly assigned service members. On Monday, South Korea reported 62 new infections and 43 of them came from overseas, the highest imported cases in 110 days.

The latest USFK cases brought the total number of infections among the USFK-affiliated individuals to 74.

Of the 11 new cases, two arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, on a U.S. government chartered flight from their home country on July 7. The remainder arrived at Incheon International Airport on four separate commercial flights since July 8, according to USFK.

They all tested positive on their first mandatory test prior to entering quarantine, and have since been transferred to an isolation facility designated for confirmed virus cases on either Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek or Osan Air Base, it added.

All USFK-affiliated individuals arriving in South Korea are required to undergo the virus test and are quarantined for 14 days. Medical personnel administer a second test prior to their release.

On Friday, USFK reported nine coronavirus patients -- eight service members and one civilian employee -- following the announcement of seven confirmed cases among its service personnel two days earlier.

Among the total 74 patients, 33 are active-duty soldiers.

Despite the recent surge in the caseload, USFK stressed that it remains "at a high level of readiness with less than 1% of its active duty service members who are currently confirmed positive for COVID-19."

U.S. officers wait for American service personnel to arrive at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on April 7, 2020. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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