A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 flies above the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Feb. 27, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Damon Loveless/Released)
USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier's COVID-19 crisis:
April 1: U.S. Navy scrambled to prepare for evacuation and quarantine of 4,000 plus sailors aboard. Ship remained docked in Guam;
March 30: Captain of carrier pleaded for Navy's help in letter amid accelerating spread of COVID-19. Ship was docked in Guam;
March 27: Number of coronavirus cases on the aircraft carrier spiked to at least 30. Ship was sailing in the Pacific Ocean;
March 25: Eight sailors tested positive for coronavirus. Ship was drilling in the Philippine Sea;
March 9: The USS Theodore Roosevelt completed a 5-day visit to the central Vietnamese city of Danang;
Mid-January: The USS Theodore Roosevelt left its San Diego homeport in California for a regularly-scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific.
GUAM, United States, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Navy is scrabling to find ways to evacuate and quaratine more than 4,000 sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, where COVID-19 infection is spreading rapidly.
Here is a timeline of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier:
April 1, 2020:
The U.S. Navy is scrambling to find beds to accommodate and quarantine sailors. But it is yet to order sailors to get off the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier docked in Guam, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly has his temperature read as part of a COVID-19 screening prior to a tour of the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), March 31, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Natalie M. Byers/Released)
"The problem is that Guam doesn't have enough beds right now and were having to talk to the government there to see if we can get some hotel space, create tent-type facilities," Modly told U.S. media.
"It's not the same as a cruise ship, that ship has armaments on it, it has aircraft on it, we have to be able to fight fires if there are fires on board the ship, we have to run a nuclear power plant, so there's a lot of things that we have to do on that ship that make it a little bit different and unique," he added.
Some essential crew members will have to stay aboard to maintain the gigantic vessel even if the Navy manage to arrange for the sailors to get off and be quarantined in Guam.
March 30, 2020:
Brett Crozier, captain of the warship, wrote a letter to plead the Navy for help while media reports put number of confirmed cases on the ship between 80 and 100.
Captain Crozier wrote in a four-page letter that they had not been able to stem the spread of the COVID-9 virus through the crewmembers, describing a dire situation aboard the huge vessel now docked at Guam.
The U.S. Navy Ship (USNS) Comfort sails toward Pier 90 in New York, the United States, on March 30, 2020. (Jie Fischer/NAPA/Handout via Xinhua)
"The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating," Crozier wrote, referring to the ship's "inherent limitations of space."
Crozier called for "decisive action" and removing over 4,000 sailors from the ship and isolating them.
The number of coronavirus cases on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean spiked to at least 30.
At least 30 sailors on board have tested positive for COVID-19, according to U.S. media. Authorities were "in the process now of testing 100 percent of the crew," Wall Street Journal quoted Modly as saying.
"Additional positive cases of COVID-19 have been discovered", Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday said in a statement, without specifying how many.
Gilday added he expected further positive tests among the about 5,000 personnel on board the warship, which is in Guam on a "pre-scheduled port visit."
Eight sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus. The warship was drilling in the Philippine Sea at the time of the revelation.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly first put the number of infected sailors at three. But the navy changed the figure into eight in a later update.
The infected were taken from the ship and admitted to a Defense Department hospital. Those who came in contact with the trio were isolated aboard the ship, "as best they can do that while at sea".
The USS Theodore Roosevelt completed a 5-day visit to the central Vietnamese city of Danang as the former foes mark 25 years of normalised diplomatic relations.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt left its San Diego homeport in California for a regularly-scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific. It has a crew of some 5,500 service members.■
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