Fifty crew members aboard the only French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, tested positive for the new coronavirus and parts of the ship were blocked, the Armed Forces ministry announced on Friday.
A ministry statement said three sailors were evacuated by air to a military hospital in Toulon, in southern France, the carrier’s home port.
A team equipped to test for coronavirus infection boarded the ship on Wednesday just after the Department of the Armed Forces reported signs of COVID-19 symptoms among 40 crew members.
“The results of 66 tests showed 50 cases of COVID-19 on board the Charles de Gaulle. There is no deterioration in the health of the seafarers at this stage, “said the ministry, adding that the evacuation of three of them had taken place on Thursday. .
The aircraft carrier, equipped with its own intensive care facilities, has 1,760 people on board.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which had recently participated in exercises with northern European navies in the Baltic Sea, is continuing its voyage to Toulon, where it is expected to dock in the coming days.
“Pending the rapid return of the aircraft carrier to Toulon … additional measures to protect the crew and contain the spread of the virus have been put in place,” added the ministry, adding that all crew members must now wear face masks. .
Last week, the captain of the American aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt was relieved of his duties after the leak of a scathing letter which he sent to superiors to call for stricter measures to curb a coronavirus epidemic on his ship .