Seoul: Ten more American service members affiliated with the US Forces Korea (USFK) have tested positive for the novel coronavirus upon their arrival in South Korea in the past week, the military said on Monday.
Six of them are service members and four their family members, and they tested positive after arriving here between July 12 and 15, Yonhap News Agency quoted the USFK as saying.
Five service members and four dependents arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, some 70 km south of Seoul, on US government-chartered flights on July 12, 14 and 15.
The remaining service member arrived at the Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on a commercial flight on July 13, it added.
Six of the ten individuals tested positive on their mandatory initial test with two having displayed “minor symptoms”, the USFK said, adding that the four others tested negative on their first test but later developed symptoms and were re-tested with positive results.
“All individuals have since been transferred to an isolation facility designated for confirmed COVID-19 cases on either Camp Humphreys or Osan Air Base”it added.
The latest COVID-19 cases brought the total number of USFK-related infections to 98.
Of them, 62 were reported in July, and all of them were newly arriving service members, dependents and others, Yonhap News Agency said.
All USFK-affiliated individuals arriving in South Korea are required to undergo the virus test and are quarantined for 14 days.
Medical personnel administer a second test before their release.
Regarding the surge in the positive cases among service members, Commander Gen. Robert Abrams told a radio program of American Forces Network (AFN) Korea on Monday: “This is something that we take very very seriously.”
The commander, however, noted that the military has “a tried and proven process to ensure that those travelling in from the US, that there’s no unnecessary exposure to Korean citizens to our population here on our basis”.
On Monday, South Korea added 26 more COVID-19 patients.
Of them, 22 were imported cases, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). The country’s total caseload came to 13,771.