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S. Korea reports 1st military member infected with coronavirus

07:59 February 21, 2020

SEOUL/JEJU, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- A Navy sailor on the southern island of Jeju was confirmed Friday to have contracted the new coronavirus in the first confirmed case among service personnel in South Korea, officials said.

The sailor, 22, tested positive for COVID-19 in the initial examination the previous day and was finally confirmed earlier in the day, according to the officials.

He visited his hometown, Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, from Feb. 13 to Tuesday. Upon returning to the base, he showed symptoms, such as coughing, prompting the authorities to immediately quarantine him at the base. He is now at a Jeju hospital.

It is yet to be known exactly how he contracted the virus. But South Korea has seen a surge in patients in Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province in recent days, as the country's 31st patient attended a church service, along with around 1,000 others. As of late Thursday, the total number of confirmed cases stood at 104, according to health authorities.

In the wake of high chances of the first coronavirus case among service personnel, the defense ministry decided late Thursday to restrict all enlisted soldiers from vacationing and staying outside their base to meet visitors starting Saturday.

A Navy sailor arrives at a hospital on South Korea's southern island of Jeju to undergo a test for the new coronavirus on Feb. 20, 2020. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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