While the 247 cases are not directly linked to new domestic infections, with Destroyer Munmu the Great leaving South Korea to begin its mission in February, the outbreak comes as the country battles its worst outbreak of Covid cases -19 at home, with 1,252 new infections reported on Sunday.
The country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that only 50 of the ship’s 301 personnel tested negative in an outbreak first reported on July 15. Authorities have started an operation to bring them home, while a replacement team will bring the ship back.
Sunday’s count meant that new cases in South Korea – which so far have fared better than many industrialized countries in terms of cases and deaths – topped 1,100 per day for nearly two weeks in an epidemic fueled by an increase in the number of highly transmissible Delta variant cases.
So far, South Korea has recorded 179,203 cases and 2,058 deaths. Some 31.4% of its 52 million people received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 12.7% were fully immunized.
Citing military sources, the Yonhap News Agency reported that none of the personnel assigned to the destroyer had been classified as a serious case, although one person developed conditions that required close monitoring.
The Defense Ministry said no one aboard the destroyer had been vaccinated because the unit left the country in February, before a vaccination campaign began for military personnel.