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USFK relaxes quarantine rules

United States Forces Korea said Wednesday it had decided to downgrade by a notch the peninsula-wide health emergency declaration to Bravo, the second level of the four stages of guidelines, citing “favorable” coronavirus conditions here.

The change is effective nationwide from 4 p.m. Thursday, except for some areas in the Greater Seoul area, including Incheon and Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.

Travel to the Greater Seoul area still remains off-limits for personnel except for official duties. But individuals living there can leave for approved activities within Bravo areas.

On Tuesday, USFK also eased quarantine rules on its personnel. Infected service members will now be released from self-quarantine once they reach 21 days in isolation and show no symptoms.

Those service members will exit isolation even if they test positive for COVID-19. Asymptomatic individuals could test positive but are no longer contagious after 20 days, USFK said, citing medical studies.

Previously, infected personnel could only be released from isolation if they show no symptoms for at least seven days and tested negative twice for COVID-19 in a 24-hour period.

By Choi Si-young (