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NEWS | Sept. 21, 2020

USFK Adjusts COVID-19 Isolation Release Criteria

U.S. Forces Korea

Since COVID-19 first appeared within South Korea, USFK has maintained an aggressive preventive approach to protecting the force and our mission.


Every USFK arrival to South Korea - regardless of a new arrival or returning through Osan Air Base or Incheon International Airport - remain under strict U.S. military control by being immediately tested, placed in mandatory 14-day quarantine, and retested a 2nd time with negative results required to exit quarantine. If either test result is positive, they are immediately moved to isolation, and placed under the direct medical supervision of a health care provider.


No one is exempt from quarantine, regardless of their rank, position, status or service affiliation, and most importantly, no one in quarantine or isolation interacts with the local USFK, or ROK communities, until they are medically cleared and released.


Consistent with our current policy, individuals will be monitored and can only exit isolation if the individual remains asymptomatic for seven days, free of fever at the time of discharge without using fever-reducing medications, successfully passes two consecutive COVID-19 tests with negative results no less than 24 hours apart, and cleared by a medical professional.


Recent medical research studies have indicated that individuals are no longer contagious after 20 days even though their COVID-19 test can remain positive beyond this time.


After thorough coordination with the U.S. CDC and KDCA, USFK has implemented a slight change in our discharge policy for confirmed cases - based on the studies - and will begin to release individuals from isolation once they have reached 21 days in isolation, regardless if they continue to test positive for COVID-19.


USFK takes its responsibility to prevent the spread of the virus very seriously - our record speaks for itself as we have not had a positive on-pen case since mid-April - and we will continue to use an abundance of caution to protect the force.


Even with our change, USFK policies still exceed both U.S. and ROK release criteria, and we remain more stringent than everyone else in identifying, containing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 within our formations, installations, and communities.


USFK continues to maintain a robust combined defense posture to protect the Republic of Korea against any threat or adversary while maintaining prudent preventive measures to protect the force.


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