A third of the sailors aboard French navy flagship Charles de Gaulle and one of its escort vessels have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the country’s defense ministry.
A total of 668 of the nearly 2,000 sailors on board the aircraft carrier and a support craft have been confirmed to have the virus, with two-thirds of the test results in, the ministry said in a Wednesday statement.
Thirty-one are being treated at the hospital, one in intensive care, the statement said.
Last week, the vessel returned home 10 days early from a deployment in the Atlantic after some crew members developed coronavirus symptoms.
The carrier, with helicopters and fighter jets on board, was accompanied by two frigates — one for aerial defense and the other an anti-submarine vessel.
Sailors onboard the flagship, one of the frigates and the pilots who returned the aircraft to their respective bases, have been placed on a required 14-day quarantine, according to the ministry.
No one was infected on board the other frigate.
The vessels are being disinfected, the ministry said.
In total, 1,767 sailors have been tested so far, most from the aircraft carrier itself, according to the ministry.
Some 30 percent of results are still pending, meaning more than half of those tested so far had positive results.
The Charles de Gaulle had been deployed in the Atlantic as part of a NATO exercise after taking part in Operation Chammal, which attempts to contain the expansion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
A total of 134,598 coronavirus cases and 17,167 deaths have been reported in France, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Earlier this month, 615 crew members tested positive for the coronavirus aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, one of two US aircraft carriers in the western Pacific. One of them has died of the disease.
The ship’s captain, Brett Crozier, was relieved of duty April 2 — after issuing an urgent request to higher-ups for help amid his concerns over the virus spreading among his crew. He has since tested positive for the virus, also.
The Navy is considering reinstating him, though no official decision has been made, Defense Department officials said Wednesday.
With Post Wires