Following the announcement of suspected COVID-19 cases among aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle’s (R91) crew, a medical team was sent on board. The tests it carried out confirm fifty positive cases of COVID-19 on board.
The French Navy (Marine Nationale) issued an initial statement mentioning 40 suspected COVID-19 cases two days ago, on April 8.
The medical team dispatched to the Charles de Gaulle arrived via NH90 NFH helicopter on the afternoon of April 8. It is composed of two epidemiologist doctors, a biosecurity expert and a doctor in charge of testing the sailors. The latter left the aircraft carrier on the evening of April 8 to analyze the samples taken. The other three doctors remained on board in order to carry out an epidemiological investigation. The goal is to identify the contamination circuit and support the protocol to limit the spread of the virus.
The results of the 66 tests carried out concluded that there were 50 cases of COVID-19 aboard the Charles de Gaulle. No deterioration in the condition of sailors has been observed to date. In addition, three sailors were evacuated as a preventive measure on April 9 in the morning.
These three sailors were evacuated by an NH90 NFH Caïman helicopter from the aircraft carrier to Lisbon airport (Portugal) where they were taken care of by a medical Falcon 900 aircraft with two doctors and a nurse. They were transferred to a Military Hospital in Toulon — the home port of Charles de Gaulle. This evacuation makes it possible to preserve the medical capacities aboard the aircraft carrier, allowing the care of sailors infected by the COVID-19, in particular in the event of worsening conditions.
Pending the early return of the aircraft carrier to Toulon, in coordination with the recommendations of the epidemiological team, measures to strengthen the protection of the crew and limit the spread of the virus have been put in place. These measures are in addition to those already established by the ship’s command. In particular, the entire crew is now wearing masks.
Sailors infected with COVID-19, or showing its symptoms, continue to receive specific treatment: Close medical monitoring continues, as well as confinement in a section of the ship.
A version of this post originally appeared on Naval News. It’s been republished here with permission.