1,200 Civilian Guards Pulled From Duty; Diarrhea, Vomiting Reported
(HEADLINE HEALTH) The Winter Olympics don’t officially open for two more days, but have already gone viral – not virtually, but literally.
Busloads of North Korean athletes showed up early for the games and were promptly met by South Korean security officials.
Now all 1,200 security guards have been pulled from duty with reports of norovirus, a highly contagious virus that’s caused scores of cases of acute gastroenteritis – the medical term for vomiting and diarrhea – in the Olympic village.
The South Korean military is said to be “check[ing] the origin of the exposure” and has flooded the area with 900 troops.
The Olympic venue is located a mere 50 miles from the DMZ. North Korea is the only country that can send its athletes to South Korea via bus.
The South Korean military is said to be hastily disinfecting all busses within the Olympic zone.
No word yet on biosecurity measures at the Incheon International Airport in Seoul, the main transportation hub for the games.
This norovirus outbreak comes just four days after Headline Health warned of the possibility that globetrotting Olympic travelers could spawn a catastrophic pandemic of influenza when they return home from the games later this month. The Korean peninsula has been hit hard by the flu this winter. Further details below from CNN.
Military deployed as norovirus outbreak hits Winter Olympic security guards
(Sol Han and Ben Westcott, CNN) South Korea has deployed 900 military personnel after 1,200 security guards were pulled from duty following an norovirus outbreak at Winter Olympic facilities in Pyeongchang.
To prevent the spread of the disease, the civilian guards were withdrawn and replaced with military personnel.
“The military … will be responsible for security checks of the 20 venues as they take up jobs such as security searches, previously done by civilian[s],” officials said.
The Korean Center for Disease Control (KCDC) stated:
“KCDC dispatched an immediate response team to the Pyeongchang site to check additional people for symptoms, check the origin of the exposure, take measures to control infection and prevent spread,” the statement said. See the full story at CNN. Featured image: 쉰지식인, CC BY 3.0; driver Photographer, CC BY-SA 2.0