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Five US troops test positive for coronavirus upon arrival in South Korea

A sanitation crew works to disinfect the Patriot Express at Osan Air Base, South Korea, July 14, 2020.

MATTHEW KEELER/STARS AND STRIPES

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 28, 2020

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SEOUL, South Korea — Five U.S. troops tested positive for the coronavirus after traveling to South Korea from the United States, the military said Monday, raising its total number of cases to 198.

South Korea, meanwhile, reported 50 new confirmed infections, its lowest daily toll since before a new outbreak began last month. That raised its total to 23,661, with 406 deaths.

However, authorities expressed concern about continued cluster cases as South Korea braces for Chuseok, a major holiday that begins Wednesday and usually includes mass movement of people to visit family.

Four of the service members arrived at Osan Air Base on U.S. government-chartered flights on Sept. 10, 23, 24 and 25, U.S. Forces Korea said in a press release.

The other one arrived at Incheon International Airport on a commercial flight on Sept. 11, it said.

Only 24 of the 198 patients affiliated with USFK contracted the respiratory virus locally, with the most recent case in mid-April. The others were travelers who tested positive upon arrival.

U.S. Forces Korea said the troops posed no danger to the broader community because of a strict testing and two-week quarantine process that begins as soon as the plane lands.

Three of the latest cases received positive results on the coronavirus test required upon arrival in South Korea, while two initially tested negative but were positive on the mandatory test needed to exit quarantine.

All have been transferred to isolation facilities designated for coronavirus patients on Camp Humphreys, the Army’s main base in South Korea, USFK said.

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