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USFK Novel Coronavirus: Updated February 13, 2020

By USFK Public Affairs | Feb. 13, 2020

USFK Update:
 
February 13, 2020:
 
The U.S. Department of State issued a travel advisory to exercise increased caution for Hong Kong and Macau, and that the Republic of Korea added Hong Kong and Macau to its strict quarantine screening list meaning all travelers returning from these countries will undergo enhanced screening upon their return to South Korea; any US servicemember must obtain General Officer approval to travel to Hong Kong.
 
Additionally, the ROK government has issued a travel advisory for Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Japan.
 
USFK reminds all personnel that although additional USFK travel restrictions have not been imposed, travel to any of the above countries carries a risk of exposure to the Coronavirus and travelers should exercise increased precautions. USFK’s travel advisories of not restricting travel to the above mentioned countries follow Indo-Pacific Command and the U.S. Government’s direction.
 
February 11, 2020:
 
United States Forces Korea is aware the Republic of Korea has minimized travel to Hong Kong and Macau, starting Feb. 11, 2020. There are no current USFK travel advisories to these locations. USFK’s travel advisories follow Indo-Pacific Command and the U.S. Government’s direction.

 

From Gen. Robert B. "Abe" Abrams, USFK Commander:

February 10, 2020:

The care and well-being of our servicemembers, families and civilians is a top priority of mine. Our Army, Air Force and Navy components are doing a great job of providing the best care possible for those who are in the self-quarantine program.
 
In particular, U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys quickly renovated one of their buildings to accommodate these soldiers, and they are safe and being well taken care of by the installation, leaders and others. All soldiers remain in good health, are monitoring their physical condition and providing their status to their leadership and health care providers daily.
 
I am extremely grateful that no one in USFK has contracted the novel coronavirus, and am appreciative of the family members and civilians who are also voluntarily following my self-quarantine directive. Remember, good hygiene practice is the best preventive measure to controlling the spread of viruses. We must protect the force and our community by maintaining our "Fight Tonight" readiness!
 

February 2, 2020:

Following the U.S. Health and Human Services’ announcement of a U.S. public health emergency related to the novel coronavirus outbreak, USFK has instituted a 14-day self-quarantine for U.S. servicemembers returning from mainland China to South Korea on or after Jan. 19, effective Sunday, Feb. 2 at noon.
 
The directed self-quarantine implementation is mandatory for US servicemembers, regardless if they reside on or off USFK installations, and is highly encouraged for family members, DoD civilians, contractors, United Nation Command military personnel and Korean National employees to follow as well in the interest of public health safety.
 
The 14-day quarantine, which equals the incubation period for novel coronavirus, begins from the date the individual(s) returns to S. Korea, regardless if they display symptoms or not.
 
USFK continues to stress that the overall risk to USFK personnel remains low, but that the quarantine measures implemented are out of an abundance of caution to mitigate risk to the USFK population.
 

February 1, 2020:

As you're aware, the novel coronavirus, originating from mainland China, is spreading globally and shares similar symptoms to the common cold and flu.
 
Good hygiene practices and minimizing contact with anyone who has returned from mainland China in the past 14 days, and who are exhibiting any cold or flu like symptoms, are the best prevention measures to controlling the spread. If you are feeling cold or flu-like symptoms, please go to a doctor immediately - more importantly, do not go to work or school. Stay at your home or in the barracks while you are recovering.
              
We must do our best to prevent the spread or it will have a significant impact on our "Fight Tonight" readiness!
 
We understand your concerns and we are monitoring this situation very closely, around the clock. We currently assess a low threat or risk to our USFK formations and installations.  We will keep you informed as the situation develops and if our assessment changes.
 

Novel Coronavirus Facts:

The 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The novel coronavirus is a new virus and part of a large group of viruses that infect people and while normally causing a mild respiratory disease - such as the common cold - it can potentially be deadly. Signs and symptoms of this coronavirus illness include fever, cold spells, cough, difficulty breathing, chills and muscle pains. Be advised that this is cold and flu season, and the coronavirus shares similar symptoms to both these illnesses.

* Person-to-person spreads mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.
 
* Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure
 
* No vaccine or treatment but current mortality rate is low
 
* Recovery for average healthy adult is 7-14 days
 
* Greatest risk is to elderly and young or those who have complicated medical problems
 

Preventive Measure Tips/Guidelines:

* If you are feeling fine and not sick, you can go to work, school, play outdoors, etc. and continue with your daily routines.
 
* However, if you are feeling sick or ill, do not come to work and follow the below guidelines: 
 
                - Seek US medical care/treatment if you are feeling sick, experiencing fever, cough or difficulty breathing; be sure to call
                   ahead to the medical clinic to advise them of recent travels and current symptoms.
 
                - Wear a surgical mask or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
 
                - Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and
                  water are not available.
 
                - Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
 
                - Perform routine cleaning of all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace - doorknobs, countertops, desks,
                  refrigerators, keyboards,  remote controls, etc. - with disposable wipes; additional disinfection beyond
                  routine cleaning is not needed.
 
                - Avoid nonessential travel to Wuhan and China if possible.  
 
                - Avoid travel or contact with others while sick.  
 
                - Avoid contact with sick people.