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A US Forces Korea (USFK) soldier has been officially confirmed positive with coronavirus Covid-19, making him the first US service member to contract the virus.

The 23-year old male US Army soldier was stationed at Camp Carroll from 21-25 February. He visited Camp Walker on 24 February.

Currently, the patient is in self-quarantine at his off-base residence.

As a preventive method, USFK has lifted its risk level to high. It has also recommended all personnel to follow ‘strict proper hygiene procedures’ to prevent and protect USFK personnel from the viral infection.

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In a statement, USFK said: “KCDC and USFK health professionals are actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether any others may have been exposed.

“USFK is implementing all appropriate control measures to help control the spread of Covid-19 and remains at risk level ‘high’ for USFK peninsula-wide as a prudent measure to protect the force.”

Meanwhile, the White House has submitted a $1.25bn emergency funding request to be prepared to respond to the epidemic.

The development comes after an individual related to a USFK member tested positive for the virus. The widowed citizen is from Daegu.

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Furthermore, the outbreak has reached Europe from China and is expected to disrupt the lives of thousands of US military troops deployed on the continent.

Italy, Germany, Austria, Croatia, and Spain are among the European countries that have detected several cases.

US Army Garrison Italy has closed on-base schools, child care centres, gyms and churches in Vicenza until 1 March and has restricted personnel from travelling to Lombardy and Vo’ Euganeo, reported Stars and Stripes.

Nato supreme allied commander and European Command commander-general Tod Wolters was quoted by Washington Examiner as saying: “Those facilities remain closed, and the travel to the two states are still prohibited in Italy.”

He added that there are ‘over 35,000 US military members in Italy’.

Globally, more than 81,000 people have been infected. Recovered cases also saw a progressive increase, exceeding 30,000 as of the end of 25 February.