(ATTN: ADDS additional virus cases at bottom)
SEOUL, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) -- Dozens of cadets from the military nursing academy were sent to coronavirus treatment centers Friday to help out the government's fight against the fast-spreading pandemic, the defense ministry said.
A total of 77 students and four nursing officers from the Korea Armed Forces Nursing Academy will support the medical staff at "residential treatment centers" that have been set up for mild COVID-19 patients so as to make more hospital beds available for serious patients.
Of them, 56 cadets and three officers were sent to three residential treatment facilities in Gyeonggi and South Chungcheong provinces. The remainder will be sent to other designated facilities following the health authorities' guidance.
At the facilities, the cadets will work under the direction of doctors and nurses to monitor the patients and help with administering medication and conducting coronavirus tests, the ministry said.
Under the law, medicine or nursing major students can carry out medical activities under the guidance of professional medical personnel in case of a national emergency situation.
The dispatch was the latest in a series of mobilization of military personnel to support health authorities' battle against the pandemic.
More than 1,300 soldiers have been sent to public health centers since Monday as the country's daily new virus cases have been hovering over 1,000 in recent days.
On Friday, South Korea added 1,062 more COVID-19 cases, raising the total caseload to 47,515.
Among the military population, a Navy officer in Jinhae, some 410 kilometers southeast of Seoul, has tested positive for the virus after showing symptoms. Authorities are carrying out additional virus tests on some 100 service members at the base.
The total number of infections among the military rose to 475.
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