Norovirus outbreak at Winter Olympics leads to South Korean military deployment

South Korean authorities deployed 900 military personnel to the PyeongChang Olympics on Tuesday after about 1,200 security staffers became ill due to a norovirus outbreak.

Games organizers said 32 workers are being treated for norovirus in quarantines, including 21 from the Civil Security Staff and three who are foreigners. Some 1,200 people working security were being kept in their rooms while being tested for norovirus.

"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 affected workforce are able to return to duty."


Tests conducted over the last five days on the water used for cooking and general consumption were found negative for norovirus, organizers said. However, hygiene inspections will be intensified on all food and beverage facilities at the Olympics, which open Friday.

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2018 file photo, a photographer walks down the steps underneath a large banner at the Gangneung Hockey Center ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea. Fresh off the Super Bowl, NBC begins more than two weeks of Winter Olympics coverage on Thursday, Feb. 8,  with a new host, some new wrinkles and the hope that its business model keeps pace with the different ways people experience events on television and online. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Some 900 military personnel were deployed after a norovirus outbreak.  (AP)

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

Norovirus is a contagious virus that causes stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. The most effective way to stop the spread is to practice good personal hygiene and hand-washing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.