The French Navy aircraft carrier ‘Charles de Gaulle’ is heading home cutting short deployment in the Atlantic following suspicion of several COVID-19 cases among its 2000 crew members.
About forty sailors may be infected with Covid-19, according to a French Ministry of the Armed Forces press release issued this morning. The ‘Charles de Gaulle’ with an assortment of Rafale jets, helicopters and reconnaissance planes was originally scheduled to sail until April 23.
“On board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle currently deployed in the Atlantic as part of the mission Foch, around forty sailors are today under close medical observation. They are showing symptoms consistent with possible Covid-19 infection. These first symptoms have appeared recently,” the Release said.
The aircraft carrier, currently deployed on “Mission Foch” since January, is sailing in the Atlantic Ocean towards its home port is Toulon Naval Base in Southern France.
A screening team with test equipment will be dispatched to the aircraft carrier today. They will investigate the cases and prevent the spread of the virus on board the ship.
Sailors showing the symptoms are placed in isolated confinement, as a precaution vis-à-vis the rest of the crew. No worsening was seen in these patients. Everything is currently being done to ensure the safety of crew members.
The number of meetings and participants has been reduced, gatherings in certain living spaces have been limited.
Masks are distributed as a preventive measure to all personnel who may show symptoms (cough in particular). These personnel are monitored twice a day by medical personnel, the release added.
The French carrier is the second major naval vessels whose sailors have come under the Coronavirus scare. Earlier the US carrier, Theodore Roosevelt reported sailors with COVID-19 symptoms and is currently based at the US naval base in Guam.