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13 American USFK personnel test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in S. Korea

Thirteen American service members have tested positive for the new coronavirus upon arrival in South Korea from the United States this month, the US Forces Korea (USFK) said Monday.

Eight of them arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, on US government chartered flights, and the other five arrived on international commercial flights at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, between Oct. 9 and 22, according to the US military.

Of them, five individuals tested positive on their first mandatory COVID-19 test prior to entering quarantine, and the others were confirmed to have been infected with the virus on a subsequent test while in quarantine.

They all have since been transferred to an isolation facility designated for coronavirus patients at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, USFK added.

All USFK-affiliated individuals arriving in South Korea are required to undergo a virus test and are quarantined for 14 days.

Medical personnel administer a second test prior to their release.

The latest cases brought the total number of USFK-related infections to 251, most of whom tested positive upon their arrivals here.

"Thorough cleaning of all transportation assets and quarantine rooms has been completed," USFK said in a statement. "None of the new arrivals have interacted with anyone residing within USFK installations or the local community."

Starting Aug. 30, the US Department of Army has required all American soldiers, family members and other related civilians to have a negative test result for the new coronavirus prior to their departure for South Korea.

But the requirement does not apply to service members from the Navy, the Air Force and the Marine Corps.

On Monday, South Korea added 119 more COVID-19 cases, including 94 domestic infections, raising the total caseload to 25,955, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). (Yonhap)