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Military extends antivirus scheme for three weeks

Defense 10:51 April 12, 2021

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry on Monday extended the current social distancing rules for the military, which allow service members to take vacation in a limited manner, for three weeks.

The Level 2 scheme, which was supposed to expire Sunday, will be in place until May 2 in line with the government's guidance, according to the ministry.

Under the Level 2 scheme, troops are allowed to go on vacation while strictly adhering to antivirus measures, such as a mandatory quarantine and coronavirus tests. Up to 20 percent of members of each base can take leave at the same time.

But staying out overnight and meeting outside visitors are banned in principle, it added.

Since mid-February, the ministry has enforced the Level 2 distancing after lowering the antivirus level by one notch from the second-highest Level 2.5 in its five-tier alert system. The Level 2.5 bans service members from going on vacation.

Monday's decision came after the government extended the current Level 2 social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area and Level 1.5 for the rest of the country for another three weeks amid concerns over the fourth wave of the pandemic.

South Korea reported 587 more COVID-19 cases, including 560 local infections, on Monday, raising the total caseload to 110,146, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

The military also reported five new COVID-19 cases among its members over the weekend.

Two Army officers contracted the virus after coming into close contact with civilians who later tested positive.

Two soldiers also tested positive while on vacation, and a Marine was confirmed to have been infected while in isolation following his recent vacation, according to the ministry.

The latest cases raised the total number of infections reported among the military population to 678. Of them, 23 are currently under treatment, the ministry said.

People stand in line to receive coronavirus tests at a makeshift clinic in front of Seoul Station on April 7, 2021. (Yonhap)

People stand in line to receive coronavirus tests at a makeshift clinic in front of Seoul Station on April 7, 2021. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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