An entrance of US Forces Korea's (USFK) Yongsan Garrison in Seoul (Yonhap)
US Forces Korea (USFK) said Saturday it has decided to toughen social distancing rules for its service members amid the growing number of infections among its troops.
The USFK had confirmed a weekly record high of 682 additional COVID-19 cases among its personnel from Dec. 28 to Tuesday. It did not offer more details, including the number of breakthrough cases or locations of the infected members.
"Due to the continued presence of COVID-19 within United States Forces Korea and South Korea, USFK has increased its health protection condition to 'Bravo Plus' peninsula-wide effective today at 12 p.m. until further notice," the USFK said in a statement.
Under the scheme, the US military will prohibit all personnel from visiting off-base facilities, such as indoor malls and gyms.
Access to bars and saunas will also be banned, though the USFK had previously banned such activities for non-vaccinated personnel only.
Seated dining at restaurants outside the base will also be restricted.
The USFK added it will prohibit its personnel from traveling to Seoul except for official duties or those who live there.
The total number of COVID-19 cases reported among the USFK-affiliated population totaled 3,027 as of Tuesday. The USFK said nearly 90 percent of its affiliated community is vaccinated.
South Korea hosts some 28,500 US troops to deter North Korean aggression, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. (Yonhap)