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(2nd LD) Army boot camp in border town reports 22 new COVID-19 cases

Defense 16:11 October 08, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS more details in paras 7-9, additional photo)

SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- Twenty-two draftees at an Army boot camp just south of the inter-Korean border have tested positive for COVID-19, the defense ministry said Friday.

The newly enlisted soldiers at the boot camp of the Army's Fifth Division in the border county of Yeoncheon underwent coronavirus tests and were confirmed to have been infected, two days after a colleague was diagnosed with the virus, according to the ministry.

All of them joined the military late last month, and only three of the 23 members received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, the ministry said.

The boot camp reported a cluster infection in November, which involved nearly 90 service members.

Soldiers close the front gate of an Army boot camp in the northern county of Yeoncheon on Nov. 25, 2020, after dozens of newly enlisted soldiers tested positive for the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

Separately, the defense ministry reported the first COVID-19 case from its headquarters in Seoul.

One civilian employee at the ministry was confirmed to have been infected earlier in the day and contact tracing is under way, according to officials.

The ministry temporarily shut down part of the building for disinfection works, the officials said, adding that some 150 ministry officials and affiliated individuals underwent virus tests and the results are expected to be available as early as late Friday.

Defense Minister Suh Wook's office was not subject to a test according to the results of contact tracing, they noted.

The building is located inside the ministry compound in Yongsan, central Seoul, along with the headquarters of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and several other affiliated entities. The JCS and the other agencies had reported COVID-19 cases before.

The military also reported seven additional COVID-19 cases at other bases -- three new enlistees at an Army boot camp in the southern city of Busan and four soldiers, bringing the total caseload in the military to 1,896.

Defense ministry officials wait in line to undergo COVID-19 tests at a makeshift testing station inside the ministry compound in central Seoul on Oct. 8, 2021, after one civilian worker tested positive for the new coronavirus earlier in the day. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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