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(2nd LD) Military reports 13 more COVID-19 cases

All News 15:11 November 29, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in para 8-10)
By Kang Yoon-seung and Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's military reported 13 additional COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the total caseload among its personnel to 2,305.

Among the new cases, three Army conscripts stationed in Seoul tested positive after one of them contracted the virus during a vacation.

A civilian employee of the Air Force based in Osan, 55 kilometers south of Seoul, tested positive while in self-quarantine.

An Army officer stationed in Yangju, north of Seoul, contracted the virus after a family member was infected.

Five other military personnel tested positive during and after their vacations.

Despite growing concerns over the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the military said it plans to maintain current guidelines on vacations and off-base trips for its troops for the time being until health authorities issue new rules.

Meanwhile, the military plans to administer extra COVID-19 shots to fully vaccinated troops starting end-December -- slightly earlier than the initial plan to start the booster shot program in January, it said.

The defense ministry is also looking into possible ways to administer booster shots to overseas South Korean troops, including vaccinating them at U.N. facilities, officials said, amid lingering concerns over potential outbreaks among them.

Other measures under consideration include shipping vaccines from South Korea to the troops deployed to overseas missions where vaccines are not readily available, the officials said.

The military is also mulling giving additional shots to overseas troops after they return to South Korea, if they are posted to regions where medical infrastructure is not robust enough to handle potential post-vaccination side effects.

In July, troops of the country's anti-piracy Cheonghae unit operating in waters off Africa were airlifted home, as 90 percent of them were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Of the cumulative cases in the military, 146 patients are still under treatment.

South Korea's new coronavirus cases stayed below 4,000 for the second straight day Monday due largely to fewer tests, but the high number of critically ill patients remained worrisome amid concerns about the new variant, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

In this file photo, soldiers walk outside Seoul Station in central Seoul on Nov. 1, 2021. (Yonhap)

In this file photo, soldiers walk outside Seoul Station in central Seoul on Nov. 1, 2021. (Yonhap)


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