Military Called in After Virus Outbreak at Pyeongchang Olympics

Cathy He
By Cathy He
February 6, 2018Worldshare
Military Called in After Virus Outbreak at Pyeongchang Olympics
South Korean soldiers at a security checkpoint replacing security guards showing symptoms of the norovirus at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on Feb. 6, 2018, ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

Organizers of the Pyeongchang Olympics have called in the South Korean military to cover the 1,200 private security workers who have been quarantined due to concerns of a norovirus outbreak.

Officials said on Monday, Feb. 5, 32 workers are being treated for norovirus, including 21 security staff, after they reported being ill suffering from diarrhea and vomiting, reported CBS.

As a result of the outbreak, 1,200 private security workers have been isolated in their rooms while being tested for the virus, said the Pyeongchang Olympics organizing committee on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

NTD Photo
South Korean soldiers inspect a visitor at a security checkpoint at Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on Feb. 6, 2018. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

“To address the shortfall in security workforce due to the isolation, 900 military personnel have been deployed to take over the work of the civil safety personnel,” the organizing committee said in a statement. “They will work across 20 venues until all [the] affected workforce is able to return to duty.”

The norovirus is a contagious virus that causes stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. It can spread from contaminated water or food and by touching contaminated surfaces. The most effective way to stop the spread is to exercise proper hand washing and personal hygiene.

According to officials, tests conducted on the water supply at the facilities have come up negative for the virus.

“Surveys on tap water, the food preparation staff, and food items are currently being conducted to trace the route of transmission,” organizers said.

NTD Photo
President of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympics, Lee Hee-beom speaks at a press conference on Jan. 23, 2018, in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director, told Reuters: “All areas are getting disinfected. They [organizers] will be extremely diligent to sanitize anything that came into contact with the persons. Very stringent measures are in place when it comes to food and beverage.”

President of the organizing committee, Lee Hee-beom, said security arrangements at the games is not affected by the development.


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