New Delhi: The Indian Navy Saturday said it remains combat-ready, mission-capable and fully prepared to fight the pandemic even as 26 sailors at the INS Angre, a stone frigate under the Western Naval Command in Mumbai, tested positive for coronavirus.
The Navy said all its missions for coastal and offshore security will continue to operate as before and it was ready to provide support to “friendly neighbours” in the Indian Ocean Region.
Earlier in the day, 20 Navy personnel had tested positive for Covid-19.
“The 26 sailors who were placed in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 in Mumbai belong to INS Angre, a shore establishment,” the Navy said in a statement.
To allay any fear that this large breakout could affect the overall functioning of the force, the Navy said its resources continue to be mission-deployed in three dimensions, with all the networks and space assets functioning optimally.
Several Navy personnel are on maritime patrol deployment, from the Straits of Malacca in the East to Bab-el-Mandeb in the West. They also undertake ‘Op Sankalp’ to provide protection to Indian merchant vessels and anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.
All sailors continue to remain asymptomatic
The Navy said that detection of the Covid-19 cases was a result of “meticulous contact tracing and aggressive screening/testing” carried out by the Western Naval Command after a sailor tested positive on 7 April.
“All these sailors continue to remain asymptomatic and are being monitored at INHS Asvini, under the care of the best medical professionals,” the statement added.
It also underlined that there has so far not been a single case of Covid-19 on board any ship, submarine or air station of the Indian Navy.
Drawing lessons from the coronavirus outbreak aboard the American aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt last month, the Navy has decided to treat coronavirus cases on board ships as an emergency and to evacuate patients by air.
Operational units are being maintained in readiness by following a 14-day quarantine routine to meet immediate contingencies, including assistance to civil authorities and friendly maritime neighbours.
The force has also set up several quarantine facilities in naval premises at Mumbai, Goa, Kochi and Visakhapatnam for use by civilians, in case a need is felt by the government, and those evacuated from foreign countries.