USFK Commander General Robert Abrams
The commander of U.S. Forces Korea has declared a public health emergency over the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The declaration announced Wednesday came in line with the U.S. State Department's issuance of a global Level 4 "Do Not Travel" health advisory.
Ron Chang reports.
General Robert Abrams issued the emergency for all U.S. commands and installations in South Korea in an effort to "protect the force."
His office said the declaration does not bring about changes to any of the U.S. military's preventive measures that are already being taken or indicate an increased risk level on its bases.
The order will remain in place through April 23 unless it is renewed or terminated sooner by the commander.
As of Wednesday, USFK had reported a total of 10 confirmed cases.
While noting that the U.S. military here has made "significant progress" in containment efforts, Abrams stressed that now is "not the time to lower our guard."
He called on everyone to do their part to stop the spread and kill the virus.
Meanwhile, U.S. defense chief Mark Esper has ordered a 60-day freeze on the movement of American troops and civilian defense employees overseas in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The move has stopped the deployment or redeployment of some 90,000 U.S. service members as well as their families.
The Pentagon said in a statement that the measure was taken to protect U.S. personnel and preserve the operational readiness of their global force.
Ron Chang, eFM News.■
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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