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USFK: 7 service members from US test positive for COVID-19

Seven more service members affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea have tested positive for COVID-19.

Of those service members, four had taken government-chartered flights to Osan Air Base between Oct. 5 and Oct. 19, while another three headed into Incheon International Airport on a commercial flight on Oct. 18 and Oct. 19, according to the command.

USFK policy dictates that all service members arriving in South Korea must undergo a COVID-19 test and then remain quarantined for at least 14 days. Service members will receive a subsequent COVID-19 test after the two-week period, to ensure they test negative before their release or can be isolated if they test positive.

Four of the seven service members tested positive during the initial test and three tested positive during the second test, USFK said. All who have tested positive are currently at Camp Humphreys in isolation.

More than a dozen service members affiliated with USFK have tested positive for COVID-19 this month either after initially arriving in South Korea from the U.S., or after a mandatory two week quarantine.

Last week, USFK announced that is was lowering its Health Protection Condition to Bravo across the entire peninsula and cited “low numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the greater Seoul metropolitan area.” The new order took effect on Monday.

Per Department of Defense guidance, HPCON Bravo means that the risk is moderate and there has been an increase in community transmissions.

“USFK’s #1 priority remains the protection of the force,” USFK Commander Army Gen. Robert Abrams said in a statement. “We must balance the overall health, safety and protection of the force with mission accomplishment.”

Abrams announced Friday that he is currently in quarantine in South Korea, after returning from the U.S.

A USFK soldier stationed at Camp Carroll was the first U.S. service member to test positive for COVID-19 back in February. The 23-year-old soldier was declared virus-free after 49 days in isolation in April.

The Pentagon has reported more than 52,300 COVID-19 cases among military personnel, 12,000 cases among DoD civilians, 7,200 cases among dependents, and 4,880 cases among contractors. There have been a total of eight deaths among military personnel, per the Pentagon.

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