The US Department of Defence (DOD) has revealed that sailors were tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
In a telephone briefing for Pentagon reporters, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said that 93 personnel had tested positive, with 86 of the service members exhibiting symptoms. A total of 593 members have tested negative so far.
Approximately 1,300 crew members have been tested, with results pending for the majority of the service members.
The US Navy has accelerated testing and is deep-cleaning all spaces on the ship.
Modly said: “We are providing the commanding officer what he has requested, and we are doing our best to accelerate the pace wherever we can.
“Stopping the spread of this virus is the fight we are in right now. [The] Teddy Roosevelt is a frontline theater in this new battle, and we have to respond with the skill and agility and direct communication required to protect our people and our nation.”
The US DOD noted that prior to the deployment of USS Roosevelt, a special medical team was housed on the ship.
Following the return of sailors from liberty, they were screened and temperature readings of every service member was recorded.
Suspected members were quarantined immediately, with no positive cases tested then.
Modly added: “At the end of the 14-day observation period aboard the ship, there were two sailors with symptoms who had positive tests.
“We identified and quarantined all those who were suspected of being in close contact with those that had tested positive.”
All sailors confirmed positive were isolated and flown off the ship to the naval hospital in Guam.
The US Navy continues the process of contact tracing, quarantine and monitoring to identify other possible infected people.
Additional space in Guam was sought to accommodate the infected service members.
Modly further added: “We already have nearly 1,000 personnel off the ship right now, and in the next couple of days, we expect to have about 2,700 of them off the ship.”
However, it was emphasised that the US Navy will not remove every sailor from the Roosevelt. A certain number of people are expected to stay aboard to maintain safety and security.