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French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle reports 50 Covid-19 cases

Paris: Two separate countries, one common link – Covid-19 aboard military vessel at sea. One ignored the Captain’s SOS call; the other asked its sailors to return to base.

The crew aboard France’s aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle were lucky to have not been abandoned like those on the USS Theodore Roosevelt last week after 50 members on the French vessel tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, the federal armed forces ministry confirmed on Friday.

The government evacuated three sailors from the military vessel and shifted them to a hospital in the Mediterranean port of Toulon for “precaution”.

However, as per the ministry statement, none of the crew members who tested positive for coronavirus and stayed on board has “worsening health” so far.Though the origin of the virus on the French ship is not known yet, all crew members are wearing face masks for protection.

The French defence ministry had on Wednesday announced that the aircraft carrier would be brought back home earlier than scheduled from its deployment in the Atlantic Ocean since some crew members had started showing symptoms for the virus.

While the ones with symptoms were kept in isolation, no one else showed signs of a serious illness.

The ship, with a capacity of about 2,000 sailors, was anyway preparing to return to the Mediterranean.

“It was decided to bring forward its return to Toulon, initially scheduled for April 23,” the statement said, according to news agency AFP.

In the case of the United States military vessel Roosevelt, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly put down his papers last week over “mishandling” of the outbreak on the US aircraft carrier.

Modly had fired the ship’s Captain Brett Crozier for writing the SOS letter, which was leaked to the media, in which he complained of an “uncontrolled virus outbreak” among his 4,800 crew members and alleged that the Pentagon, US military headquarters, was not paying attention to their plight.

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