Just days before the Winter Olympics’ Opening Ceremony, more than 1,200 security guards were reportedly quarantined due to a norovirus outbreak in Pyeongchang. According to USA Today, Korean officials today announced additional cases of norovirus at the Pyeongchang Olympics, bringing the total of people infected to 86.
Norovirus is highly contagious and can also be spread through food or water contamination, and symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting and nausea. With 1,200 workers quarantined, the security force has been replaced with 900 military police.
“The 1,200-odd people were pulled out from their duties,” an official of the Pyeongchang Olympic Organizing Committee told AFP. “They were replaced by some 900 military soldiers.”
“Norovirus is a water-borne and food-borne disease and the outbreak is ongoing,” said Kim Hyunjun, director of the Korean CDC. “In order to stop the further outbreak of the virus we’re quarantining patients beginning from the diagnosis to the treatment. We’re going to minimize this outbreak.”
USA Today reports that the Pyeongchang organizing committee will be distributing information on the virus and prevention as well as providing additional hand sanitizer and disinfecting surfaces. The organizing committee has also begun supplying free bottles of water to media members at the Main Press Center and the media housing after a public water fountain in the Main Press Center was turned off.
The 2018 Winter Olympics, taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are scheduled to get underway in just two days on Friday, February 9th and conclude on February 25th.