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(2nd LD) 17 USFK members test positive for new coronavirus

All News 19:22 December 14, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES paras 2-3 with latest info)

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 South Korean citizen working at Camp Casey in the northern city of Dongducheon was confirmed on Monday to have been infected, USFK said in a statement.

"Contact tracing is ongoing. USFK and local ROK public health officials are actively ensuring that all known on-post and off-post facilities visited by the employee are thoroughly cleaned," it added. ROK is the acronym of South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

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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