All 304 crew members on a South Korean Navy frigate dispatched to the Gulf of Aden are under quarantine in Oman after 27 of them tested positive for Covid-19, the military said. South Korea said on Friday.
Most of the crew members are being isolated in a hotel and have been taking Pfizer’s Paxlovid, South Korean officials said. The positive cases were discovered on Thursday after the crew did a PCR test at a hospital. One crew member received a positive result from a rapid test carried out on board the ship on Wednesday.
The outbreak is the first cluster infection in six months among South Korean armed forces engaged in anti-piracy missions off the coasts of East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Another group of troops in that force, the Cheonghae Unit, was transported by plane from the coast of East Africa in July after at least 247 of the 301 crew members contracted the virus. No one on board was vaccinated at the time.
In the latest case, the destroyer ROKS Choe Yeong departed from South Korea in November. Its crew No outside contact was made before docking at the ship’s home port in Muscat, Oman, to receive Covid-enhanced fighters on January 19, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
South Korea reported some of its highest daily cases of the pandemic, including more than 16,000 new cases on Friday. But officials said Friday that it will reduce the quarantine period for incoming travelers from 10 days to seven days, starting February 4.
About 85% of the Korean population is fully vaccinated, with the Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca or Janssen vaccines. Officials said Friday that they will add the Novavax vaccine to the mix by mid-February.
In other news from Asia:
Officials in IndiaThe capital New Delhi said on Friday that it would lift the city’s weekend curfew and allow some restaurants and cinemas to reopen at half capacity. Schools and colleges will remain closed. India reported more than 250,000 cases in the 24-hour period ending Friday morning and the country’s overall positivity rate fell to 15.8% on Friday from 19.5% earlier in the week. Delhi’s positivity rate has dropped to around 10 percent, down from 16 percent in recent weeks.
Foreign nationals will be allowed to enter Philippines from February 16 if they are fully vaccinated against Covid, the government said on Friday. This requirement does not apply to children, foreign diplomats and their dependents, or unvaccinated persons with medical exemptions. The local tourism industry has lobbied aggressively to reopen in recent months, but the government balked as the highly contagious variant of Omicron tore through the country.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/world/asia/a-south-korean-naval-unit-quarantines-in-oman-after-a-covid-outbreak-on-their-ship.html A South Korean naval unit is in quarantine in Oman after the outbreak of Covid-19 on their ship.