New Delhi: Three American Navy sailors aboard the US aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt — currently in the Philippine Sea — have tested positive for coronavirus. The trio was among a 5,000-strong crew aboard the Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier.
While the three have been airlifted, those suspected to have come in contact with them have been quarantined.
“We’ve identified all those folks that they’ve had contact with and we’re quarantining them as well… This is an example of our ability to keep our ships deployed at sea,” Thomas Modly, the acting secretary of the US Navy, was quoted as saying by ABC news.
The Nimitz class of ships, the largest in the world, are virtually floating cities with a displacement of over one lakh tonnes. The Roosevelt had been at Danang, Vietnam, 15 days ago for a port visit, USA Today reported.
Indian Navy on guard
The news of three sailors testing positive on board the American aircraft carrier has been received with concern by the Indian Navy. Each ship is like an isolated unit and any kind of communicable disease breakout places others on board at immediate risk.
Navies across the world make port calls and interact with each other when out on duty.
The Indian Navy has already issued protocols to all its personnel and ships out at sea to ensure that Covid-19 does not make any inroads into the Navy.
“We have already canceled all port calls by the ships which are operationally deployed until it is very necessary. We are trying to ensure that even replenishment is done at sea without making any port calls,” a Navy officer told ThePrint.
He added that instructions had also been issued to maintain strict social distancing on ships.
“All personnel on board ships are being monitored to ensure that anyone who has any kind of symptom is immediately quarantined. However, thankfully no such case has come out,” another officer said.
All ships either have a medical assistant or a medical officer on board, depending on the size.
The Indian Navy has already postponed its largest-ever multilateral naval exercise, Milan, involving over 30 countries on account of the coronavirus threat.