United States Forces Korea (USFK) said Tuesday, Feb. 25, that a U.S. solider stationed in South Korea has tested positive for the coronavirus, making the first case involving a U.S. service member.
The soldier was infected after visiting a store on Camp Walker, a military base in the southeast city of Daegu, the South Korean city at the center of an outbreak in the country. He has been quarantined in his off-base residence.
“USFK is implementing all appropriate control measures to help control the spread of COVID-19 and remains at risk level ‘high’ for USFK peninsula-wide as a prudent measure to protect the force,” the military said in a statement.
South Korea currently has the largest outbreak outside mainland China, with more than 1,100 people infected and at least 12 dead. There are 18 confirmed cases among South Korean soldiers, prompting the country and the United States to scale back joint military drills.
As of Tuesday, the number of cases in the United States has risen to 57 including four more people who were on a cruise ship. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans that the virus will spread in the United States.
“We expect we will see community spread in this country,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”
Now is the time for US businesses, hospitals, and communities to begin preparing for the possible spread of #COVID19. CDC continues to work with business, education & healthcare sectors, encouraging employers to be prepared. Learn more: https://t.co/OUYvMhdIaS.
— CDC (@CDCgov) February 25, 2020
President Trump, during a news conference in India, said the United States was ready to contain the possible outbreak. On Monday, the Trump administration requested $2.5 billion to help stop the spread of the virus.
“CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus, including the very early closing of our borders to certain areas of the world,” President Trump tweeted during his return flight to Washington from India. “It was opposed by the Dems, ‘too soon,’ but turned out to be the correct decision.”
“No matter how well we do, however, the Democrats talking point is that we are doing badly. If the virus disappeared tomorrow, they would say we did a really poor, and even incompetent, job. Not fair, but it is what it is. So far, by the way, we have not had one death. Let’s keep it that way!” he added.