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(LEAD) 4 more service members test positive for new coronavirus

All News 11:44 December 08, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS plan to mobilize officials for quarantine work in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- Four more service members tested positive for the new coronavirus amid continued cluster infections at barracks, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

Three Army officers at the Sangmudae Artillery School in the southwestern county of Jangseong were confirmed to have been infected after coming into contact with a colleague who earlier tested positive, according to the ministry.

The total number of COVID-19 cases reported at Sangmudae has grown to 30.

One soldier stationed in the western city of Incheon also showed symptoms while in isolation after contacting a patient at his unit, bringing the total number of patients there to nine, the ministry said.

Up until Tuesday morning, the military has reported a total of 431 coronavirus cases since the pandemic broke out in the country early this year, with the figure growing faster since mid-November.

Currently, 1,688 service members are in isolation in accordance with the health authorities' guidelines, and the military has quarantined an additional 7,011 people under stricter antivirus schemes of its own as a preventive step, according to the ministry.

Nationwide, the country reported 594 new virus cases on Tuesday, including 566 domestically transmitted ones, raising the total caseload to 38,755.

The defense ministry plans to mobilize around 600 military officials to support the government's handling of the resurgent coronavirus, according to officials.

South Korea is struggling to stem the spread of the virus, particularly in Seoul and the surrounding regions, and President Moon Jae-in on Monday called for mobilizing more personnel for survey and quarantine work.

"We are preparing for sending military officials within this week. Close consultations with health authorities are under way," a ministry official said.

A graphic image on the exterior surface of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul shows a message for service members on Dec. 1, 2020. The "media facade" was organized by the defense ministry. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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