Over a third of the 2,000 member crew, onboard France's aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle, have tested positive for novel coronavirus, the French Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the French Defense Ministry confirmed that 668 sailors onboard Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, France's first nuclear-powered surface vessel, have tested positive for coronavirus. 1,767 out of the 2,000 sailors have been tested and the tests for the remaining crew-men are awaited, thus raising concerns that the total tally is set to rise, France24 reported.
Coronavirus outbreak on France's Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier
"Thirty-one personnel are today in hospital," the ministry said in its statement. "More tests are being carried out," it added further. One of the mariners has been admitted to the intensive care unit. The aircraft carrier which had helicopters and fighter jets onboard was accompanied by two frigates - one for aerial defence and the other an anti-submarine vessel. Almost all the cases have been reported on the aircraft carrier itself, while one of the frigates hasn't witnessed any virus outbreak.
The crew from the Charles de Gaulle and the frigate Chevalier Paul are isolated within the naval base at Toulon while the pilots of the carrier's aircraft and helicopters are in quarantine. The Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier was deployed in the Atlantic as part of a NATO exercise, after the completion of Operation Chammal -- aimed at containing the activity of the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. Last week, its deployment was cut short by about two weeks, after about 40 crew-men developed COVID-19 symptoms.
Coronavirus outbreak onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt
Prior to the virus outbreak on Charles-de-Gaulle, similar outbreak took place on USA's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt, now docked at Guam. About 600 mariners tested positive for COVID-19, while one of them died. The coronavirus outbreak on the ship caused a political crisis, resulting in the sacking of the ship's captain Brett Crozier and the resignation of Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.