U.S. Military Dependent in South Korea Tested Positive for COVID-19

A U.S. military dependent living in Daegu, South Korea has been tested positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said in a statement.

This is the first time a USFK-related individual has tested positive for the virus.

“South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed U.S. Forces Korea today that a USFK dependent living in Daegu tested positive for COVID-19, making this the first time a USFK-related individual has tested positive for the virus”, said the USFK statement.

The patient, a 61-year old female, visited Camp Walker’s Post Exchange on Feb. 12 and 15, and KCDC and USFK health professionals are actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether any others may have been exposed, according to USFK.

USFK has raised the risk level to “high” for USFK peninsula-wide “as a prudent measure to protect the force”. It has also released guidelines for its personnel regarding the COVID-19.

USFK encourages all personnel to continue to practice strict proper hygiene procedures as the best ways to prevent the spread of viruses and protect the USFK population: wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, do not touch your face or eyes with unclean hands, avoid handshaking and unnecessary contact with others, non-mission essential large gatherings, clean all common-use areas and items, use caution when traveling off-installation, and most importantly if feeling sick or ill, avoid going to work or school and seek medical treatment for proper diagnosis.

Earlier today, it was announced that 11 South Korean service members have been tested positive for the Coronavirus.

According to the  country’s defense ministry, eight COVID-19 cases are in the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army with one each in the Navy, the Air Force and the Marine Corps. The ROK Armed Forces are also currently isolating around 7,900 soldiers at their bases.

Of the 7,900 quarantined, “about 350 people either have shown symptoms or had direct contact with patients”, the report quoted deputy ministry spokesperson Moon Hong-sik.

South Korea reported the first COVID-19 case among its service personnel on Friday. The patient, an ROK Navy sailor, was assigned to a base on the southern island of Jeju. According to officials, the sailor in his 20s visited his hometown, Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, from Feb. 13-18.

South Korea reported the nation’s first death of a coronavirus patient on Feb. 20, with the total number of confirmed cases surpassing 100 on the day. As of Monday, the total number of cases is 763 with seven deaths reported.

On Sunday, South Korea raised the alert level to serious, the highest in its four-tier system.

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