By Tony Winterburn • 14 April 2020 • 19:21
THE armed forces ministry said Saturday that 50 sailors had contracted the virus and so the flagship of the French navy returned to port 11 days earlier than planned because of the coronavirus breakout on board. Three sailors were evacuated as a ‘precaution,’ and the others will be transferred to the hospital.
The carrier had 1,700 people on board, with an additional 200 in a frigate sailing with it. They are now in a two-week quarantine in military barracks and will only be allowed to have contact with their families, everyone will be tested for Covid-19.
“Our goal is to protect all our sailors, but also their family and the French people, by deploying unprecedented measures,” said Christine Ribbe, spokesperson for the Mediterranean maritime prefecture, a few hours before the carrier arrived.
The origin of the virus on the carrier is not yet known. The Charles de Gaulle had been on a mission since January 21, spending several weeks in the Mediterranean as part of the French contribution to the international anti-jihadist operation in Iraq and Syria.
It then crossed into the North Sea for security operations. It had had no contact with anyone or anything outside the vessel since a stop at the port of Brest on March 15. Three weeks later the first cases were detected.
More to follow on this story as more Covid-19 crew infections are expected.
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