Some 2,100 sailors on France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier are being evacuated and isolated after “at least 40” coronavirus cases were revealed on board following exercises with British forces.
The latest development is that the aircraft carrier has now reached the southern French port of Toulon after it undertook NATO exercises with British forces off the coast of Denmark before the coronavirus was detected on board and it had to make an urgent dash for the Mediterranean.
According to French news channel BFMTV, “at least 40 cases”, possibly 50, of COVID-19 have been reported on board the aircraft carrier, a flagship vessel in the French fleet, which is pictured here just off the French coast, nearing the port of Toulon, in the southern Var department.
Reports state it arrived at 3pm on Sunday afternoon. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, one of the biggest battleships on Earth, is at the heart of a COVID-19 emergency after the virus was detected on board following a NATO training exercise that included allies such as a British frigate.
French media report that the infected sailors have been isolated aboard the vessel and when they arrive in port, some 2,100 sailors in total will be cared for by a special medical cell and will be isolated so that they do not infect their loved ones.
After arriving at 3pm., it has now docked. The evacuation of its sailors infected with COVID-19 was set to begin yesterday evening. Around fifty sailors will join the former site of the army training hospital (HIA) of Saint-Anne, which had moved to new buildings in 2008. The premises have been fitted out to receive patients from the Charles de Gaulle.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, France ranks fourth in the world for the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with 133,670 infected. So far, France has suffered 14,412 deaths from the disease.
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