This file photo taken on Nov. 20, 2019, shows US tanks being covered and parked at Camp Casey in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)
Seventeen American service members and two family members have tested positive for the new coronavirus, US Forces Korea (USFK) said Wednesday, amid a massive spike in virus infections across South Korea.
Nine service members and a dependent are from Camp Casey in Dongducheon, 40 kilometers north of Seoul, while five soldiers and a family member are from K-17 Air Base in Seongnam, south of Seoul. They all tested positive after direct contact with infected people, according to USFK.
In addition, two service members from Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, about 70 kilometers south of Seoul, contracted the virus after coming into contact with infected people, and a service member stationed at Camp Casey was confirmed to have been infected in a test required to return to the US, it added.
All the 19 cases were reported between June 29 and July 2.
They are currently in isolation at a facility designated for COVID-19 patients, and contact tracing is under way to determine if anyone else may have been exposed to the virus, USFK said.
The latest cases raised the total number of infections reported among the USFK-affiliated population to 972, most of whom tested positive upon their arrival here from the US
The US military in South Korea has reported cluster infections across the nation in recent weeks, though it completed vaccinating more than 80 percent of its population.
South Korea has also experienced a surge in new cases over the past several days, with the daily figure spiking Wednesday by the most since late December. The country reported 1,212 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,168 local infections, on the day, raising the total caseload to 162,753, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. (Yonhap)