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Military reports 5 COVID-19 cases

This file photo, taken May 23, 2021, shows service members at Seoul Station in the capital. (Yonhap)
This file photo, taken May 23, 2021, shows service members at Seoul Station in the capital. (Yonhap)

Four Army soldiers and an Air Force officer have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

Two soldiers in Dongducheon, 40 kilometers north of Seoul, were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 after one of them first developed symptoms, while another soldier and an officer in Paju, some 35 km northwest of the capital, were found to be infected, also after one of them first tested positive, according to the ministry.

The officer received the second dose of Pfizer's two-shot regimen last week.

In the central city of Daejeon, an Air Force officer has tested positive after developing symptoms.

The latest cases raised the total number of infections reported among the military population to 1,034.

As of Monday, 185,619 troops in their 20s, or nearly half of the age group, have received their second doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine since the ministry began the inoculation campaign for troops under 30 last month.

Nationwide, South Korea added 746 new cases Tuesday with the health authorities struggling to prevent infections from spreading. The total caseload stood at 161,541.

In the face of lingering concerns over the spread of the virus, the military decided to maintain mask rules and gathering restrictions on vaccinated individuals in line with the health authorities' guidance on the wider public.

South Korea had planned to ease distancing rules starting this month but has delayed their adoption as the greater Seoul area -- home to half of the country's 51 million population -- appeared to become a breeding ground for COVID-19 variants. (Yonhap)