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Military to ship COVID-19 treatment pills to overseas units

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (R) shakes hands with a member of South Korea's Akh unit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday, in this photo provided by the unit. (South Korea's Akh unit)
Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (R) shakes hands with a member of South Korea's Akh unit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday, in this photo provided by the unit. (South Korea's Akh unit)
South Korea's military is set to ship COVID-19 treatment pills to three overseas units Friday following virus outbreaks there, officials here said.

Pfizer's Paxlovid antiviral pills will be sent by air to the contingents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Sudan and Lebanon under Thursday's distribution approval by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), the officials said.

The military also plans to send the pills to the Navy's anti-piracy Cheonghae unit operating in waters off Africa next month.

The planned shipments come after two service members of the Akh unit in the UAE tested positive Thursday, spawning concerns over cluster infections among overseas South Korean troops. Akh means brother in Arabic.

Recently, the Dongmyeong unit in Lebanon and the Hanbit unit in South Sudan also reported virus cases, raising the need for such treatment pills.

South Korea approved the emergency use of Pfizer's antiviral treatment last month. The country received the first batch of 21,000 pills last week.

The country, meanwhile, plans to send booster shots for troops in Lebanon and South Sudan later this month. The military will inoculate the Akh and Cheonghae members under cooperation with the UAE and Omani governments.

South Korea has a total of around 1,000 troops operating in the four overseas units. (Yonhap)
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