More than 80% of the 301 crew members performing anti-piracy missions in African waters have been confirmed to be infected with the virus.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stated in the worst coronavirus outbreak in history that after the military confirms the worst coronavirus outbreak in history, South Korea will be airlifted from a warship involved in anti-piracy operations in African waters. Dozens of crew members. army.
Yonhap News Agency quoted JCS as saying on Monday that a total of 247 crew members from the 301 Qinghai Force tested positive.
It added that the department reported six cases of COVID-19 for the first time last week, which led to the testing of the entire crew for the virus.
Most of the sailors are quarantined on the ship, Munmu the Great, although 16 people have been taken to the hospital for treatment.
After the government sent two transport planes to pick them up, all crew members are expected to return home on Tuesday.
The destroyer is part of an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Hormuz and will be driven home by a replacement team of sailors. The crew usually rotates every six months.
This outbreak is the worst since the military reported its first case of COVID-19 in February last year, as people have increasingly criticized the armed forces’ response to the disease in their ranks.
No one in the unit was vaccinated because they left South Korea before the country started the vaccination campaign.
Yonhap News Agency quoted an official from the Ministry of Defense as saying: “We will review and supplement military guidelines on the management of overseas troops, including how to deal with infectious diseases.”
Yonhap said the infection appeared to have started after the ship docked at an African port at the end of June to load supplies.
One day after the destroyer left the port, a sailor developed cold symptoms. He was not tested for COVID-19 and was not quarantined.
About a week later, more than a dozen other people developed similar symptoms. The authorities tested for COVID-19 using a rapid test kit instead of a more accurate PCR test, which found that they were all negative. Officials said the first cases were confirmed only when six of the samples were sent for PCR testing.
According to the ministry, of the approximately 1,300 soldiers on overseas missions, approximately 73% are now fully vaccinated.