The setback comes with the Roosevelt and its nearly 5,000 crew having spent the last six weeks at the US Navy‘s base on the Pacific island dealing with the outbreak
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Five US sailors have been evacuated with coronavirus from an aircraft carrier despite extensive screening as the warship prepares its return to sea following a major outbreak, a US official confirmed on Thursday (May 14).
After testing positive but asymptomatic, the five spent two weeks in quarantine in Guam where the nuclear-powered USS Theodore Roosevelt is docked, the official said, confirming a New York Times report.
After each registered negative twice in subsequent tests, they were permitted back aboard the ship.
But they were later retested and again found positive.
The Navy declined any official comment on the new cases.
The setback comes with the Roosevelt and its nearly 5,000 crew having spent the last six weeks at the US Navy‘s base on the Pacific island dealing with the outbreak.
More than one-fifth of the crew tested positive, including the captain, and were placed in quarantine as the vessel underwent a thorough cleaning.
The new positive cases underscored the challenges of testing and the persistence of the virus, which has caused nearly 8,300 infections and 27 deaths among US military personnel and civilian Pentagon employees and their families.
The Roosevelt sailed into Guam in late March and was forced to stay through April as the Pentagon faced its first real test from the pandemic.
Related Story Coronavirus: Too risky for crew of ‘clean’ US warship out at sea to go home Related Story Coronavirus clue? Most cases aboard stricken US aircraft carrier are symptom-free Related Story US Navy to carry out deeper review of coronavirus-hit ship The hobbling of one of the Navy‘s key assets in the Pacific raised questions about the threat of the global spread of coronavirus on US military readiness.
The Roosevelt outbreak led to turmoil at the top levels of the Navy: The ship’s captain was removed after allowing his concerns over the outbreak to be made public, with the Navy secretary who fired him then resigning for mishandling the case.
A Pentagon official cautioned that the ship is now much less vulnerable to any new, large outbreaks because of continued testing, regular sterilisation, use of masks and compartmentalising of the crew.
Around 2,900 sailors have returned aboard the ship and all wear masks and maintain social distancing when they can.
“It’s a very different environment than it was when this (first) outbreak occurred,” according to the official.
Related Stories: Related Story New high of 1,164 Covid-19 patients discharged in Singapore, 1 new cluster Related Story All pre-school staff to take Covid-19 swab test before centres reopen Related Story Coronavirus: Ever-changing profile of a silent killer with many questions left unanswered Related Story New daily high of 958 Covid-19 patients discharged in Singapore; 6 new clusters found Related Story S’pore‘s Covid-19 circuit breaker measures have shown promise, could be further eased on June 1 Related Story Coronavirus: 20,000 recovered migrant workers ready to be discharged by end-May Related Story What are some of the new rules at workplaces as S’pore eases tightened circuit breaker measures Related Story New global cases spark fears of 2nd wave of Covid-19 Related Story Homophobia poses obstacle to South Korea’s coronavirus strategy, as nightclub cluster rises to 101 Related Story Britain’s Covid-19 death toll tops 40,000, worst in Europe Read the latest on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore and beyond on our dedicated site here .
Get The Straits Times app and receive breaking news alerts and more. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now.