Leave for Soldiers Suspended Over H1N1 Flu

      November 05, 2009 09:31

      Soldiers' meetings with visitors, staying out of barracks, leaves and furloughs will be stopped to prevent spread of H1N1 flu virus into barracks. This year's reservist training stops on Thursday. This is the first time furloughs have been suspended for all soldiers for non-military reasons.

      Defense Minister Kim Tae-young on Wednesday chaired a meeting attended by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other military chiefs that decided to take immediate action to fight H1N1 flu.

      There have been 1,455 confirmed H1N1 flu patients in the military, 1,369 of whom recovered completely. Eighty-six soldiers have been quarantined at military hospitals or clinics for treatment.

      A Defense Ministry official said the ministry took the step following the government's decision Tuesday to raise the flu alert to the highest level. The furlough ban will be revoked if the alert is lowered to a lower level.

      Military authorities will decide whether to conduct retraining for 300,000 reservists who did not participate in this year's training after the ministry's decision, taking into account the number of reservists subject to the 2010 training program and the training camp capacity.

      The military will secure 439 quarantine beds at military hospitals in preparation for any outbreak of the H1N1 flu, and operate a mobile medical team at each military hospital. Authorities are to vaccinate 12,500 military medical staff by Thursday and want to vaccinate all soldiers from early January to February.

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