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US soldiers in Korea punished for violating anti-virus rules

United States Forces Korea in combat training (Yonhap)
United States Forces Korea in combat training (Yonhap)

The US 8th Army in Korea said Sunday it had stripped one sergeant and three soldiers of two months’ pay, as they had visited an off-base bar in violation of the military guidance not to travel outside their base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, where the US military here is headquartered.

The three soldiers had their ranks downgraded to private as well.

Noncompliance with the guidance will be made public so everyone related to the US military understands the ramifications of defying the commander’s directives, the 8th Army said on Facebook.

US military commander Robert Abrams declared a public health emergency on March 25, and restricted off-base travel from Pyeongtaek two days later to curb COVID-19 infections. He said violators would be denied entry to US installations here for two years.

The US military has so far reported 19 infections, including soldiers, their family members and contractors. The patients were scattered across Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, as well a base in Daegu.

By Choi Si-young (