| 25 February 2024, Sunday |

U.S. forces in S.Korea raise COVID-19 alert amid record infections

After reporting the highest weekly tally of new coronavirus infections, at 682, US Forces Korea (USFK) upped its health protection warning on Saturday.

With the addition of the additional cases, the total number of illnesses now stands at 3,027. Nearly 90% of US soldiers, families, and other related persons were vaccinated, according to the military.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of neighboring Japan said on Friday that the government will tighten restrictions in three districts that host US military bases in order to counter a COVID-19 rise that some authorities claim the bases aided in fueling.

The U.S. military’s “Bravo Plus” plan in South Korea will ban dining at restaurants outside the bases and visiting indoor malls, bars, clubs, gyms, amusement parks, theatres and massage parlours, U.S. forces said on its website on Friday.

Travel to the capital Seoul is also prohibited, except for official duties or for people who live or work there, but activities including grocery shopping and religious services are allowed.

“Due to the continued presence of COVID-19 within USFK and South Korea, USFK has increased its health protection condition to ‘Bravo Plus’ peninsula-wide,” it said.

South Korea had reported record-breaking daily infections of around 7,800 after it eased social distancing rules under a “living with COVID-19” scheme in November, prompting authorities to reinstate tougher curbs the following month.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 3,510 new cases for Friday, bringing the total 661,015, with 5,986 deaths.

The defense ministry said 19 new infections were confirmed among South Korean military personnel as of Friday, for a total of 3,403.

  • Reuters