Three US sailors test positive for virus on aircraft carrier

Elias Hubbard
March 27, 2020

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As the coronavirus outbreak on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt worsens, the Navy has made a decision to test 100% of the flattop's roughly 5,000 sailors.

Last week the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer - now in port in San Diego according to USA media - reported one of its personnel had tested "presumptive positive" for the virus.

Acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told a Pentagon news conference that, while the carrier in the Pacific Ocean was capable of carrying out military operations, it would be pulling into Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

"We are testing 100% of the crew on this ship to make sure we can contain any spread that may occur", Modly told reporters at the Pentagon during a briefing on Thursday morning.

The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt is pictured as it enters the port in Da Nang, Vietnam, March 5, 2020. It is a major cause of concern for defense officials, as the tight quarters in aircraft carriers hold the potential for even more infections among the ship's crew.

By Thursday, the number of infected sailors shot up to 23, according to two USA officials.

"Our forces are all over the world all the time, that may have something to do with it", Modly said, "and we also have big fleet concentration in areas such as San Diego, Norfolk and other areas where we have a lot of people that are together".

"Aches and pains, and sore throats, but nothing that required hospitalization", he said.

There are around 800 COVID-19 test kits on board, but more are being flown in.

"We expect additional positive tests, and those Sailors who test positive will be transported to the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam for further evaluation and treatment as necessary", he said.

Modly said the sailors could have contracted the virus from other sources such as flight crew members from a plane that visited the carrier.

Tara Copp is the national military and veterans affairs correspondent for McClatchy. "We are already in the process of testing 100 percent of the crew to ensure that we've got that contained". She has reported extensively through the Middle East, Asia and Europe to cover defense policy and its impact on the lives of service members. She is the author of the award-winning book "The Warbird: Three Heroes".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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