At least 23 sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, forcing the warship to port in Guam to test all 5,000 on board. The Navy is now on its way to fly all personnel from the ship. In response, the Navy is pulling the ship into port and testing the entire crew. "No one on the crew will be allowed to leave anywhere into Guam, other than on pier side", he said.
The infections aboard the carrier are one of the most vivid examples of the coronavirus' impact on the military and could test the Navy's ability to forge ahead with operations.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt was in the middle of a deployment to the Philippine Sea area when eight sailors tested positive.More news: Hazard determined to shine at Real
It's unclear how long it will remain there, but the move cuts the number of carriers in the region by half, according to Breaking Defense.
"There were three [crew members who] initial [ly tested positive], there were five more that were flown off the ship or in the process of being flown off the ship, and then there are several others that are in isolation right now", Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said Thursday at the Pentagon.
"We are trending higher", Modly said, but he said it was too early to say why that was the case.More news: Can You Notice This NFL Team's Logo Change?
Pentagon officials have stressed that the US ships are not set up for quarantining patients and say the close quarters makes it easy for viruses to spread. He said there are "aches and pains" and "sore throats", but nothing requiring hospitalization. "Our top two priorities are taking care of our people and maintaining mission readiness".
The USS Roosevelt isn't the only part of the military getting hit by the coronavirus crisis.
"It would be hard to tie down these active cases to that particular port visit", he said. He noted that at the time of the scheduled port of call there were only 16 cases of COVID-19 - all of them in northern Vietnam, far from the port located in central Vietnam.More news: More than 1,000 US coronavirus deaths, near 70,000 cases: tracker
There are 5,000 sailors aboard the carrier, and Modly says some are being tested with approximately 800 test kits available and a limited laboratory capacity to process them on board.