It was finally counted that 82% of the crew of the Munmu the Great (4,400-ton class) of the Cheonghae Unit 34, dispatched to African waters, were infected with Corona 19.

As feared that all crew members were not vaccinated, virtually all of them were confirmed to be infected, which is expected to be recorded as an unprecedented cluster infection in a single space.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as of 8 am (Korean time) today (19th), 179 crew members of the 34th division of the Cheonghae Unit were additionally confirmed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 247.

The remaining 50 were negative, and 4 were notified as 'undeterminable', the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported.

After the first confirmed case was confirmed on the 15th (based on the counting date), 82.1% of all 301 crew members were confirmed as positive as a result of a complete examination requested by the local health authorities.

However, considering that the incubation period for COVID-19 is long depending on the person, all crew members are not vaccinated, and they have been living in the trap of a 'three-closed (close, close, sealed)' environment vulnerable to infectious diseases, the number of negative and non-determinable personnel Among them, there is a high possibility of additional confirmed cases.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday that one crew member complained of dizziness (mild symptoms) and was hospitalized after going away from the local hospital, resulting in a total of 16 inpatients.

There are no seriously ill patients among the inpatients, but one patient with relatively severe symptoms is being managed intensively.

The JCS explained that the medical staff determined that the crew members could also be evacuated by military transport aircraft.

The scale of the group infection at the Cheonghae Unit is more than double that of the Nonsan Army Training Center in Chungcheongnam-do, where about 110 people were recently confirmed, and it is the largest since the first confirmed case in the military in February last year.

In particular, it seems difficult for the military authorities to avoid criticism for failing to prevent the 'group infection' due to the delayed initial response and insufficient quarantine measures, even though about 39% of the crew members were infected with the amphibious assault ship 'Go Junbong' in April.

The operation for the unprecedented 'return of an infectious disease' has already begun.

Two Air Force multi-purpose aerial refueling transport aircraft (KC-330), which departed for the country yesterday with a special mission group of 200 people, are scheduled to arrive sequentially this afternoon in Korean time to transport all of the 34th wing of the Cheonghae Unit to Korea.

The special task force, led by Lee Kyung-gu (Brigade General), Deputy Chief of International Policy at the Ministry of National Defense, consists of about 200 people, including 148 in the Navy, 39 in the Air Force, and 13 in medical staff. All of them tested negative for the PCR test and were vaccinated. I did.

Of these, 148 of the navy will take over the Munmu the Great and return to Korea after going through the 'non-face-to-face takeover and handover' procedure with the 34th camp of the Cheonghae Unit as soon as quarantine measures are completed after their arrival.

The takeover team was led by Yang Min-su, 7th Mobile Squadron commander (brigadier general), and was composed mainly of the Korean destroyer Kang Gam-chan (4,400 tons), a similar-class ship and experienced dispatching the Cheonghae Unit.

If the take-off and landing of the transport plane and berthing in neighboring countries proceed smoothly, the members of the 34th HQ of the Cheonghae Unit are expected to arrive at Seongnam Seoul Airport late in the afternoon of tomorrow (20th) Korean time.

The crew will be transferred to quarantine and treatment facilities immediately after entry.

(Photo = provided by the Ministry of Defense, Yonhap News)