A U.S. soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive for Coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, officials with U.S. Forces Korea announced Tuesday night. It's the first confirmed case of the disease in a U.S. service member.
According to an announcement, the patient is a 23-year-old male who is staying at his off-base home in a state of self-quarantine. The soldier's rank, unit and military occupational specialty were not released.
"[The soldier] visited Camp Walker on 24 Feb. and Camp Carroll 21-25 Feb. [Korea Center for Disease Control] and USFK health professionals are actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether any others may have been exposed," officials said.
"All appropriate" measures are being taken to stop the virus from spreading, and U.S. Forces Korea remains at high-risk level protocols across the Korean peninsula, according to the announcement. They included an exhortation to all troops to practice strict hygiene with proper hand-washing, avoidance of hand-to-hand contact and minimization of large gatherings.
The virus, which has its epicenter in China's Wuhan province, has now spread to 31 countries and territories, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some 53 cases have been diagnosed within the United States, and more than 80,000 cases worldwide, with nearly 2,500 associated deaths.
On Monday, the 60-year-old widow of a retired U.S. soldier living in South Korea became the first U.S. military dependent diagnosed with the disease.
The U.S. military has gone to significant lengths to protect troops stationed on the Korean peninsula. Earlier this month, the Daegu Army Garrison imposed a self-quarantine for U.S. troops who had attended a nearby church linked to an outbreak. It also restricted access to the facility.
U.S. Forces Korea also implemented a mandatory quarantine for any troops who had visited China recently. Defense Department Schools in Korea are also closed this week, with reporting at Daegu garrison, on the southeast of the peninsula, limited to essential personnel only.
-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.