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(LEAD) 3 USFK service members, 2 DoD officials test positive for COVID-19

All News 20:20 January 23, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with USFK's renewal of 'shelter in place' order in last 2 paras)

SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- Three U.S. service members and two Department of Defense (DoD) officials stationed in South Korea have tested positive for the new coronavirus, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Saturday.

The three service members at Kunsan Air Base in the western city of Gunsan were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 on Friday following their direct contact with another service member who tested positive earlier. They have been in quarantine since Wednesday, according to the U.S. military.

At Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, a DoD employee tested positive Friday after developing symptoms. Another DoD official was confirmed to have been infected the next day after going through the military's surveillance testing.

All five are now at isolation facilities at the U.S. military bases here.

"KDCA and USFK health professionals are actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether anyone else may have been exposed to these individuals, and to identify and ensure all known on-post and off-post facilities visited are thoroughly cleaned," the U.S. military said in a release. KDCA stands for the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

The latest cases raised the total number of infections reported among the USFK-related population to 653.

Amid a series of infections reported at its installations, USFK extended its "shelter in place" directive at the Yongsan and Humphreys bases until Wednesday, under which its members are ordered to stay at home except for essential activities.

"All current directives, including travel restrictions, remain in effect as directed," USFK said in a Facebook post.

U.S. service members are seen at Incheon airport, west of Seoul, in this photo taken on Jan. 22, 2021. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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