“Avoid the red,” U.S. Forces Korea tweeted Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, referring to its new map of restricted districts in South Korea. “When in doubt, mask up.” (U.S. Forces Korea)
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — U.S. Forces Korea, the military command responsible for roughly 28,500 troops on the Korean Peninsula, announced Friday it will implement “a new method” for mitigating the coronavirus’ spread while allowing service members to travel more freely across the country.
Starting Saturday, USFK will regulate travel to roughly 230 South Korean districts based on the number of COVID-19 cases in that area. U.S. troops will be prohibited from traveling to districts with 50 or more confirmed COVID-19 patients per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, according to a press release.
Those who live or work in a district that is over this COVID-19 incidence rate will be exempted from the rule but are encouraged to “minimize activities to the greatest extent possible,” the release said.
The new policy represents a more dynamic method of regulating travel on the peninsula amid the pandemic, USFK spokesman Col. Lee Peters said in a Facebook video Friday. The policy allows service members to freely visit districts based on the rate of COVID-19 infections and would limit visiting a few “hotspot” areas.
Previously, USFK personnel were banned from traveling to wide-ranging areas in the country, such as the greater Seoul area. Under the new policy, the command will prohibit travel to seven districts: Gangnam and Yeongdeungpo in Seoul, Pyeongtaek, Goesan, Uiseong, Uiryeong and Yeoncheon.
USFK personnel living in one of these red zones are allowed to travel freely within their own district and elsewhere on the peninsula; however, they are prohibited from visiting other restricted areas.
USFK is expected to update its incidence rate map Wednesday evenings.
Those who have not been fully vaccinated will still be prohibited from visiting bars, clubs, bathhouses and off-post gyms — even in districts with low incidence rates.
“Avoid the red,” USFK tweeted Friday, referring to its map indicating restricted districts in South Korea. “When in doubt, mask up.”
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 1,841 new coronavirus cases Friday, down from a daily high of over 2,220 cases earlier in August.
Over 80% of USFK personnel are fully vaccinated, the command said in a statement Monday, adding that it “remains at a high level of readiness” with less than 1% of its active-duty troops currently infected with COVID-19.
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Originally Appeared On: https://www.stripes.com/covid/2021-08-27/south-korea-coronavirus-covid-19-us-forces-korea-2683412.html