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USFK imposes tougher social distancing amid Covid surge

Seoul, Jan 8 (IANS) US Forces Korea (USFK) said on Saturday that it has decided to toughen social distancing rules for its service members amid the growing number of Covid-19 cases among its troops.

The USFK had confirmed a weekly record high of 682 additional cases among its personnel from December 28 to Tuesday. It did not however offer more details, including the number of breakthrough cases or locations of the infected members, reports Yonhap News Agency.

"Due to the continued presence of Covid-19 within USFK and South Korea, USFK has increased its health protection condition to 'Bravo Plus' peninsula-wide effective today at 12 p.m. until further notice," it said in a statement.

Under the scheme, US military will prohibit all personnel from visiting off-base facilities, such as indoor malls and gyms.

Access to bars and saunas will also be banned, though the USFK had previously banned such activities for non-vaccinated personnel only.

Seated dining at restaurants outside the base will also be restricted.

The USFK added it will prohibit its personnel from travelling to Seoul except for official duties or those who live there.

The total number of Covid-19 cases reported among the USFK-affiliated population totalled 3,027 as of Tuesday.

The USFK said nearly 90 per cent of its affiliated community is vaccinated.

South Korea hosts some 28,500 US troops.