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Military to return to normal: Soldiers allowed to go out on leave, will receive COVID-19 booster shots next January and February...

At the meeting of COVID-19 armed forces top commanders, it was determined that the first plan to reset the social distancing rules in the military will take effect from November 1;
Soldiers allowed to go out on weekdays and visit unvaccinated people;
Unit training and school education will return to normal

Military to return to normal: Soldiers allowed to

All military soldiers in the country will receive COVID-19 vaccine booster shots between January and February of 2022. Soldiers’ leave will move up to normal from November 1. Regarding soldiers’ going-out and sleep-over, going-out on weekdays will return to normal first, and there will be gradual expansion after risk assessment.

The Ministry of National Defense made the announcement at the fourteenth COVID-19 armed forces top commanders meeting held in the ministry on October 29, presided over by Minister Suh Wook, saying that ‘the first plan to reset the social distancing rules in the military’ will take effect from November 1.

The meeting was attended by about 70 commanders, including main commanders, such as Minister Suh, Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Won In-choul, chief of staff of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, commander of the Marine Corps Command, and commander of the Armed Forces Medical Command via video link. The participants agreed to ease the military’s social distancing rules in phases after a comprehensive assessment of the quarantine situation inside and outside the military, in connection with the government’s plan to reset social distancing rules for a phased return to normal, scheduled to take effect on November 1. The plan considered the need to guarantee the basic rights of soldiers, as well as their fatigue due to the prolonged COVID-19 situation, and the higher levels of vaccinations inside and outside the military.

Regarding the partly restricted unit training and school education, the participants also agreed to return to normal by coming up with quarantine measures, and to minimize outside lecturers and field trips, in order to enhance the performance of education.

In his opening address, Suh asked “commanders and top officials to stay alert and take the lead in observing the quarantine rules,” stressing “a phased return to normal will be achieved through the establishment of a quarantine posture.” Suh also stressed the need to make an active effort and give interest in commanding, for the smooth progress of quarantine measures, including ‘unit-customized quarantine control of the factors vulnerable to infection,’ ‘effective ventilation to prepare for winter season,’ and ‘observation of personal hygiene rules, such as wearing a mask and washing hands.’

“Whatever it is, we need to make thorough preparations for a fresh start. To carry out the phased return to normal scheme in a stable way, we need unit-customized quarantine controls to prevent the spread of infection at the unit level, and an organic system to cooperate with the health authorities, such as a prompt response and booster shots for soldiers in the event of a confirmed case,” Suh added.

In keeping with the results of the Friday meeting, the ministry plans to do its utmost to maintain a firm and unwavering combat readiness posture by thoroughly carrying out COVID-19 quarantine control, with the basic rights of soldiers guaranteed.

“I am happy to have time with friends by going out on weekdays, and visit parents on weekends. I will remain faithful to my duties, and observe the quarantine rules,” said Sergeant Yang Woo-seok, part of the Military Police Squadron of the Service Support Group of the ministry, after hearing about the phased return to normal in the military.

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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