Fifty-five newly enlisted South Korean soldiers tested positive for the new coronavirus at an Army boot camp in the central border town of Yeoncheon, the defence ministry said on Wednesday.
They underwent virus tests after one of their colleagues showed symptoms and tested positive, even though he tested negative in an initial test taken upon his entrance into the camp, according to the ministry, Yonhap news agency reported.
They all joined the military on November 10.
The figure is feared to grow, as the authorities are conducting tests for around 1,000 new enlistees.
“We’ve taken necessary steps, while controlling their movement, to trace the infection and prevent further spread,” a ministry official said.
Earlier in the day, the defence ministry reported three additional new COVID-19 cases.
One airman in the central city of Seosan showed symptoms while being quarantined after his unit reported an infection cluster recently, according to the ministry. The total number of COVID-19 cases at the Air Force unit came to 15.
The Army officer stationed in the border town of Paju was infected after coming into contact with a civilian patient, and one enlisted soldier in the northeastern town of Goseong tested positive following a recent vacation, according to the ministry.