Vehicles line up to be checked before entering Camp Casey, South Korea, Feb. 26, 2020. (Amber Smith/US Army)

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CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Over the weekend, the U.S. military command in South Korea further restricted travel within the country and on Monday reported 17 new cases of the coronavirus since Nov. 20.

South Korea announced 615 new cases on Monday, according to the central disease control headquarters, as the virus spreads there. The country has registered more than 5,300 new cases in the past 10 days, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. Forces Korea said the 17 new patients had arrived in the peninsula recently, either via commercial flights to Incheon International Airport or via the Patriot Express, a government-chartered service direct to the airbase. of Osan.

Five military personnel arrived in Osan on November 23 and December 2, according to a USFK press release. Twelve people with the USFK – he did not specify their affiliations – arrived in Incheon on the flights on November 20, 21 and 23 and December 1, 2 and 4.

All 17 tested positive during the mandatory 14-day quarantine and were transferred to either Camp Humphreys or Osan facilities, according to the USFK.

Seven military personnel and one civilian Department of Defense employee tested positive in their first test; five service members tested positive in a subsequent test; and four tested positive for the test required before individuals can be released from quarantine, according to the USFK.

On Saturday, USFK restricted travel to or inside Camp Casey and Hovey to those who live there or have official business, according to the same Saturday update.

“Bubble-to-bubble travel remains permitted for Camp Casey and Hovey to other USFK facilities,” the message read.

USFK has also banned all personnel from the cities of Goyang, Uijeongbu, Namyangju, Yeoncheon and Cheorwon, as well as Busan and Seoul, the capital, according to an update Saturday on the USFK website.

“The capital region is now a COVID-19 war zone,” Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said at an emergency meeting on Monday, referring to the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

Since the virus arrived in South Korea, 38,161 people have tested positive and 549 have died, according to official figures.

The country could see more than 1,000 daily new cases in a week or two, Park said.

The government is tightening social distancing rules and banning gatherings at indoor sports facilities and for-profit schools in Seoul for three weeks, ordering the closure of saunas and public baths and requiring internet cafes to close by 9 p.m., a- he declared.

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