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(LEAD) 17 USFK members test positive for new coronavirus

Defense 16:30 December 14, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead with new case; ADDS details in paras 2-4, 9)

SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) -- Seventeen individuals affiliated with the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) have tested positive for the new coronavirus over the past few weeks, the U.S. military said Monday.

One USFK member at Camp Casey in the northern city of Dongducheon was confirmed on Monday to have been infected, USFK said in a Facebook post.

"Notifications to those affected, case trace and team clean operations are occurring now," the U.S. military said, adding it will share additional information as it becomes available.

This photo taken on Nov. 20, 2019, shows U.S. Forces Korea's Camp Casey in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)

Sixteen others tested positive upon arrival here between Nov. 28 and Dec. 11.

Three service members and a family member arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, on U.S. government-chartered flights, while 11 service personnel and one dependent arrived here on commercial flights via Incheon International Airport, west of the capital, according to USFK.

Twelve of them tested positive on their first mandatory COVID-19 test prior to entering quarantine, and the remainder were confirmed to have contracted the virus on their second mandatory test, it added.

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

"All individuals have since been transferred to an isolation facility designated for confirmed COVID-19 cases at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys and Osan Air Base," USFK said, adding that none of them have interacted with anyone residing within USFK installations or the local community.

The latest cases brought the total number of USFK-related coronavirus infections to 435.

U.S. military 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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