USFK commander calls for high vigilance against coronavirus

SEOUL, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Robert Abrams called Wednesday for his troops to stay vigilant against the new coronavirus despite the downward trend in new infections in South Korea while ensuring at the same time that they are ready to "fight tonight."

"We are not out of the woods yet," Abrams said on a radio program of American Forces Network (AFN) Korea. "We have been working on this 24/7 with what we call enhanced watch teams at every level."

As of Wednesday, South Korea had 7,755 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including 60 deaths, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Among the USFK-related population, nine have tested positive so far, including one service member stationed at Camp Carroll in the southeastern town of Chilgok.

In order to properly handle cases in the southeastern city of Daegu and surrounding North Gyeongsang Province, USFK has more than doubled its medical personnel there to nearly 70, and five researchers from the Army medical laboratory were also sent there, according to Abrams.

A majority of COVID-19 cases in South Korea have occurred in Daegu and North Gyeongsang, with a cluster of infections there linked to the Shincheonji religious sect.

The commander pointed to the "positive" development in which the number of fresh infections in South Korea has been on a decrease over the past several days, but he still reiterated a cautious approach.

"We are going to be very deliberate and act out of an abundance of caution ... We are not going to be premature, and that requires sacrifice and burden by every one, but in the interest of the health of the force, we are gonna be very cautious." Abrams said, adding, "We don't know what the end state's gonna be."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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