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Military toughens social distancing rules as COVID-19 cases rise

Defense Minister Suh Wook (middle) chairs a teleconference with key commanders to discuss coronavirus measures, Nov. 16, 2020. (Ministry of National Defense)
Defense Minister Suh Wook (middle) chairs a teleconference with key commanders to discuss coronavirus measures, Nov. 16, 2020. (Ministry of National Defense)
On Monday, South Korea’s military raised the social distancing rules in Greater Seoul to Level 1.5, a notch higher than its least restrictive level now, as coronavirus cases started rising. The military imposed tougher Level 2 rules in neighboring Gangwon Province.

Effective Tuesday through Nov. 29, all military personnel are instructed not to visit entertainment facilities and to reduce on-duty travel and meetings.

Those living near infection clusters in Seoul and neighboring Gangwon Province could see their vacation delayed. Officers in Gangwon Province are advised to stay put at their bases and to refrain from engaging in any non-duty or outside encounters.

All personnel stationed at bases in Seoul and Gangwon Province will see their day-to-day activities carried out in a less crowded setting to reduce the risk of infection. The military also suspended inviting civilian guest speakers after one of them was found to have instigated a transmission inside a base.

The military said it would go ahead with usual drills, adding precautions will be taken beforehand.

A total of 197 military personnel had been infected with COVID-19 as of Monday.

Meanwhile, the US military in Korea said 12 new service members tested positive for COVID-19, pushing the tally to 337.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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