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The Republic of Korea (ROK)-US Alliance has announced its decision with regard to the postponement of the joint military drills after the ROK Government declared the highest alert level ‘severe’ on the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak, which is spreading outside China.

US Forces Korea (USFK) said that the decision to postpone until further notice comes as containment efforts for the Wuhan virus and as the safety of the ROK and US service members were prioritised.

The postponement is aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19, as the number of infections outside China surpassed those appearing in the country for the first time, Reuters reported.

The announcement comes after USFK initially denied media reports regarding its postponement of the combined military training.

The US State Department issued a new travel warning for South Korea after a USFK soldier has been officially confirmed positive with coronavirus Covid-19. He was the first US service member to contract the virus.

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South Korea has reported 334 new cases of Covid-19 and no new deaths. The total cases now stand at 1,595 and 12 deaths, as of the end of early 27 February.

USFK said in a statement: “ROK JCS and USFK’s commitment to the ROK-US alliance remains ironclad and unbreakable, and the decision to postpone the combined training was not taken lightly.

“ROK-US alliance assesses the decision to postpone the training will adhere to and support South Korea’s containment and mitigation plan for Covid-19.”

ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Park Hanki initially raised the decision to postpone the training between South Korea and the US.

Based on the severity of the present virus situation within South Korea, Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea Commander General Robert Abrams agreed to postpone.