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COVID-19 found in USFK widow

United States Forces Korea in combat training (Yonhap)
United States Forces Korea in combat training (Yonhap)

United States Forces Korea said Tuesday that the widow of one of its service members was confirmed to have COVID-19 after she had visited a military base in Daegu.

The patient, 61, is the first individual linked to USFK to test positive for the virus. Two weeks ago, on two occasions, she visited the post exchange at Camp Walker, one of three American installations in Daegu where infections recently skyrocketed due to mass gatherings at a Shincheonji church.

After the diagnosis, USFK raised the risk level to “high” from “moderate” and began conducting temperature checks and screening questionnaires at the entrances to its bases.

Nonessential meetings and duty travel were put on hold, and people on bases were asked to stay put in the absence of exceptional circumstances. Visitors were not allowed on the bases.

The US Army Garrison had already banned nonessential travel and visits to the Daegu bases and shut down schools and relevant services there.

As of Tuesday evening, the number of cases in South Korea’s military forces stood at 18, with about 9,230 service members quarantined. The military expanded the quarantine as a precaution, because some people with the virus may have few or no symptoms.

Korea had reported a total of 977 COVID-19 cases as of press time, and 10 deaths.

By Choi Si-young (