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Military to resume reserve forces' training in September in scaled-back manner over coronavirus

All News 11:00 July 29, 2020

SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry decided to hold this year's regular training sessions for reserve forces in a scaled-back manner starting in September after monthslong delay due to the new coronavirus, officials said Wednesday.

The training for the country's 2.75 million-strong forces was supposed to kick off in March across the nation, but it has been put off several times due to COVID-19.

South Korean men are required to go through one training session of one to three days in duration per year as reservists for six years after completing their mandatory military service.

"Each reservist can select a date to go through the four-hour training program this year," ministry official Choi Hwan-chul told reporters.

Key programs, such as shooting, are scheduled to be implemented, he added.

It is the first time that the military has adjusted the training for reservists since its implementation in 1968.

As a supplement, the military will launch online programs in November on a trial basis. Volunteers for this distance learning will be allowed to skip their due indoor courses for next year, according to the ministry.

"The decision was made by factoring in diverse factors with a goal to protect health conditions of our reserve forces while maintaining their combat skills and a readiness posture," the ministry official said.

"Any modification to the plan is possible along with how the COVID-19 situation unfolds down the road," he added.

The military authorities reported the first virus case at the barracks in late February, and have recorded 76 patients. Currently, 502 service members are in quarantine in accordance with health authorities' guidelines, and the military has isolated 1,976 others as a preventive step.

Reservists engage in a mock combat drill at a military training camp in the city of Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, on March 4, 2019. (Yonhap)


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