04:58 GMT06 April 2020
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    All personnel boarding warships and aircraft belonging to the Seventh Fleet of the US Navy will be required to undergo checks for COVID-19 coronavirus, as officials fear the highly contagious disease may enter their ranks.

    US Navy officials revealed Monday that new guidelines have been implemented for the Seventh Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, requiring individuals to undergo a number of tests prior to boarding “units and platforms” belonging to the service, according to Stars and Stripes.

    In an emailed statement to the outlet, Seventh Fleet spokesman Lt. Joe Keiley noted that this check not only includes a medical screening for coronavirus, but also requires the individual to answer questionnaires and self-report relevant details.

    All individuals, from civilians and visitors to crew and contractors, will have to complete the process in order to proceed onto areas maintained by the Seventh Fleet. According to the spokesman, officials are prepared to provide support to and quarantine those who fail their screenings.

    “At this time, there are no indications that any US 7th Fleet personnel have been affected by [the coronavirus],” Keiley told Stars and Stripes on February 24.

    News of these tightened requirements for the Japan-based fleet came alongside US Forces Korea’s (USFK) announcement of its first confirmed service-related case of coronavirus. The command revealed that a USFK widowed dependent, who resides in the city of Daegu, tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the command to raise the risk-level to “high” for the Korean Peninsula.

    Days prior, the USFK moved to implement “proactive and precautionary measures” in Daegu following an outbreak of coronavirus associated with the New World Church - also known as the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

    According to the South China Morning Post, at least 450 of the 833 known individuals infected with coronavirus in South Korea have been identified as members of the church. One of those infected was revealed to be the head of the Infection Preventive Medicine Department in Daegu’s western district. The official, whose name was not revealed, tested positive for COVID-19 and has also prompted a quarantine of at least 50 other health officials who worked alongside him.

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    Tags:
    US military, Korean Peninsula, South Korea, Japan, coronavirus, US Navy
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