South Korea to bring sailors back aboard virus-infected destroyer


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South Korea sends military jets to replace all 300 crew members of a Navy destroyer on a counter-piracy mission off East Africa after nearly 70 of between them tested positive for the coronavirus

Two general-purpose air tankers will bring 300 sailors aboard the 4,400-ton Munmu the Grand-class destroyer, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Ministry officials said, requesting anonymity, citing department rules. .

They said 68 sailors have so far tested positive and results on 200 of the 300 crew are still pending.

The cause of the infections has not been officially announced. But military officials suspect the virus may have spread when the destroyer docked at a port in the region to load cargo in late June.

The replacement crew of 150 Navy personnel will arrive aboard the air tankers and move to the sea-anchored destroyer to return it to South Korea for a journey of about a month, according to heads of state. -joint major.

Local media reported that the infected sailors would arrive at their homes as early as Tuesday evening.

South Korea has been involved in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden since 2009. Officials said the Munmu the Great is due to be replaced with another destroyer next month after a six-month rotating deployment. The second destroyer is on its way to the area.

South Korean health officials reported 1,454 new cases on Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 177,951 with 2,057 deaths.

South Korea recently imposed its strictest distancing rules on its populated capital region, where most of the recent cases have been found. The authorities are also considering stricter restrictions in other areas.

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