An American soldier stationed in South Korea has been infected with coronavirus. The unidentified troop is currently living in isolation at an off-base residence after he was tested positive for the virus, United States Forces Korea (USFK) said in a statement.
“The patient, a 23-year old male, is currently in self quarantine at his off-base residence. He visited Camp Walker on 24 February and Camp Carroll 21-25 February. KCDC and USFK health professionals are actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether any others may have been exposed,” USFK said on Twitter and on its website.
The soldier, who is stationed at Camp Carroll, is suspected to have contracted the disease when he visited Camp Walker, a U.S. military base in Daegu. the city of Daegu is the center of coronavirus outbreak in South Korea.
It is the first case of a U.S. service member being tested positive for the deadly virus.
USFK said it is implementing all appropriate control measures to help control the spread of COVID-19 and remains at risk level “high” for USFK peninsula-wide as a prudent measure to protect the force.
All U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea have been advised to continue to practice strict proper hygiene procedures to prevent the spread of viruses and protect the USFK population.
Around 28,500 US troops have been deployed in the allied country to counter potential threat from neighboring North Korea.
In South Korea, which has seen the highest numbers of coronavirus cases outside China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 169 new cases on Wednesday, raising the total number of infected patients to 1,146. 12 people have already died.
More than half of the cases have been linked to a religious sect, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, reports say. The city of Daegu is the center of outbreak in the country.
Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that it expects coronavirus to spread community-wide in the United States.
“Ultimately we expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
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