A U.S. soldier stationed in South Korea has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the first such case involving a U.S. service member.
United States Forces Korea (USFK) said in a statement Tuesday that a soldier stationed in Camp Carroll had tested positive and is currently in quarantine at his off-base residence.
"USFK is implementing all appropriate control measures to help control the spread of COVID-19 and remains at risk level 'high' for USFK peninsula-wide as a prudent measure to protect the force," the military said in its statement.
COVID-19 refers to the disease caused by the coronavirus. The outbreak has spread from China to other parts of the world in a span of several months.
The latest development comes a day after a U.S. military dependent in South Korea tested positive for the virus after visiting a store on Camp Walker, a military base in the southeast city of Daegu, prompting USFK to raise its risk level from moderate to high.
The Trump administration has come under fire from public health officials and lawmakers alike over its response to the outbreak. Trump himself tweeted on Monday night that the virus was "very much under control."
But as stocks plunged for the second day in a row on Tuesday amid a tidal wave of concerns over the outbreak, Republican and Democratic lawmakers chided the White House for its apparent lack of preparation. Their remarks came the same day a top U.S. health official warned the spread of the virus in the U.S. was inevitable.
The news of the soldier's diagnosis came just as Democratic presidential candidates were addressing how they would respond to the outbreak on the debate stage in South Carolina. Meanwhile, Trump took to Twitter again on Tuesday night to assure the public his administration was doing what was necessary to respond to the health crisis.
"CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus, including the very early closing of our borders to certain areas of the world," Trump tweeted, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It was opposed by the Dems, “too soon”, but turned out to be the correct decision," he added. "No matter how well we do, however, the Democrats talking point is that we are doing badly. If the virus disappeared tomorrow, they would say we did a really poor, and even incompetent, job. Not fair, but it is what it is. So far, by the way, we have not had one death. Let’s keep it that way!"
China has been the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, which was first identified in the city of Wuhan, in Hubei province. The country has seen more than 2,000 deaths linked to the virus.
South Korea has seen the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases outside China.