(ATTN: UPDATES with latest figures in last 2 paras)
SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- The military has decided not to hold regular training sessions for reserve forces in the first half of this year due to the new coronavirus, the defense ministry said Friday.
The training for the country's 2.75 million-strong forces was slated to kick off in March across the nation, but it will be held in the second half in consideration of the COVID-19 situation, according to the ministry.
South Korean reservists are required to go through one training session of one to three days per year. In 2020, the military called off the annual field training for the first time in 52 years due to the pandemic.
The ministry said it will make an announcement 45 days prior to the launch of the training this year after evaluating the virus situation.
It is also planning to provide online programs to replace indoor education.
"The defense ministry will continue to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to fully prepare for a combat readiness posture," the ministry said in a release.
The military reported two additional cases of the virus on Friday in Yanggu, 175 kilometers northeast of Seoul, and Suwon, south of the capital. The total number of infections reported in barracks rose to 528.
Nationwide, South Korea added 513 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total caseload to 71,241. It marked the fourth-day in a row for the figure to stay in the 500s in a possible sign that the third wave of infections has passed its peak in the country.