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Korea to bring home all members of virus-hit Cheonghae unit

Korea to bring home all members of virus-hit Cheonghae unit

Posted July. 17, 2021 07:58,   

Updated July. 17, 2021 07:58


S. Korea did not send vaccines to Cheonghae Unit for possible side effect

An operation to bring the 34th Contingent of the Cheonghae Unit on an anti-piracy mission, which has reported confirmed Covid-19 cases, will reportedly start as early as over the weekend. The South Korean military will bring back the entire squadron of 300 service members of Cheonghae’s 34th Contingent. It is the first time that the military will be bringing home all sailors on a warship in operation overseas due to an infectious disease outbreak by deploying Air Force transporters.  

Notably, the military judges that apart from six confirmed Covid-19 patients, some 80 sailors with symptoms and a significant portion of other soldiers could have been infected.

The military will reportedly arrange two KC-330 multirole-tanker and transporter to depart for Africa where the Cheonghae Unit is stationed as early as Sunday. “If getting permission to fly through some 20 countries along the transporters’ flight route is delayed, the aircraft may have to depart around Monday.”

The transporters will be carrying some 150 soldiers, including those who will support the repatriation of the warship, and medical and quarantine personnel who are fully immunized against Covid-19. The aircraft will also be carrying various quarantine and special medical equipment and supplies. The transporters will fly some 10 hours after takeoff, and land in a third-party country for refueling, and then take off anew for its final destination.

“Since the flight is a long distance, and the transporters will be fully loaded with personnel and equipment, they inevitably have to make a stopover for refueling,” another source said. “It will likely take a full day for the aircraft to arrive at the local airport where the 34th Contingent of the Cheonghae Unit is stationed.” The transporters reportedly have vinyl curtains installed between seats, and come with medical professionals wearing personal protective equipment onboard to check the conditions of confirmed patients and soldiers with Covid-19 symptoms around the clock.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com