Unconfirmed Report: U.S. Soldier in South Korea Infected with CovID-19
South Korea media outlets are reporting that a U.S. soldier assigned to a military base on the peninsula has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
There has been no official statement from the government of either South Korea or the United States confirming the infection.
The soldier is reportedly attached to an intelligence unit of the 8th Army at Camp Humphries in Pyeongtaek, a city approximately 40 miles south of the capital of Seoul.
Pyeongtaek is about 100 miles northwest of Daegu, the city where in recent days a surge in confirmed cases of Covid-19 has spiked the South Korean total to over 400.
If confirmed, the Pyeongtaek case would be the first for United States Forces in Korea.
STORY UPDATE: USFK reports that its first Covid-19 case is a 61-year-old female dependent in Daegu.
LATEST UPDATE: USFK has announced that an active-duty American soldier in South Korea has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Two days ago, three South Korean military personnel, each located in a different geographical province, tested positive for the novel coronavirus. All three men had links to Daegu. Since then, soldiers have been put on holiday and travel restrictions.
In June 2019, President Trump visited and gave a speech at nearby Osan Air Base, which despite its name is not located in Osan City, but also in Pyeongtaek. There are more than 23,000 actively U.S. military personnel in the Republic of Korea.
South Korea’s Center for Disease Control stated on Saturday afternoon local time that it found 224 new cases of nCov19, bringing the country’s total to 433 cases. The vast majority of the cases are linked to a Christian group based in Daegu who had contact with person(s) from Wuhan, the assumed origin of the virus in China.
The CDC in Atlanta has tallied 35 cases within the continental United States, with many being citizens repatriated from the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which had been moored under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan.
There have been no allusion to any Covid-19 patients at the U.S. Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, although the city itself outside the base has seen at least 20 confirmed cases among the civilian population. Current HPCON (health protection condition) is unknown to the press and figures on how many U.S. troops have been tested for the strain have not been made available to the public. There is no information on where personnel testing is being conducted.
On February 20, USFK announced the following Daegu locations to be off-limits: Club C (Dong-gu), Searonan Hospital, Queenvell Hotel, Shincheonji Church, Public Health Office (Suseong-gu), Daegu Medical Center
UPDATE: On February 23, USFK announced that the following Pyeongtaek locations are off-limits because they are known visitation spots of a Korean patient confirmed to have been infected with the virus: Champon Time Restaurant (짬뽕타임), McDonald’s Pyeongtaek SK Branch(맥도날드평택SK점), Hyundai Hyangchon Mart(현대 향촌마트), Nogaldae Potato Soup Restaurant(노걸대감자탕경기평택점), Hill & Top Sports Climbing(힐앤토클라이밍)
American troops have been advised to avoid shaking hands.
UPDATE: South Korea has reported the COVID-19 virus has been confirmed in 17 major provinces and cities, including Seoul, Daegu, Busan, Chinhae and Pyeongtaek – all cities that are near USFK military bases – and has raised the virus alert level of the country to “serious,” the highest in their four-tier system.
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