23 sailors on US Navy aircraft carrier test positive for coronavirus

ROSLAN RAHMAN  AFP  Getty Images

As the coronavirus outbreak on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt worsens, the Navy has made a decision to test 100% of the flattop's roughly 5,000 sailors.

Officials also said that the Navy is working to identify others on the ship who could possibly be infected with COVID-19, with Adm. John Aquilino, commander of the Pacific Fleet, saying that they're working "towards the goal of minimizing any additional transmission".

The carrier was in the midst of a deployment to the Phillippine and South China seas when it was ordered to ship to Guam. "No one on the crew will be allowed to leave anywhere to Guam except on the bridge side", he said.

The Roosevelt "is operationally capable if called upon to do so", Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told reporters at the Pentagon this morning, "but we are pulling the ship into Guam".

In all, eight sailors have tested positive for the coronavirus, up from three on Tuesday, Modly said.

PHOTO: An F/A-18F Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) March 18, 2020.

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The infections aboard the carrier are one of the most vivid examples of the coronavirus' impact on the military and could test the Navy's ability to forge ahead with operations.

"Our medical team aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt is performing testing for the crew consistent with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines, and we are working to increase the rate of testing as much as possible, ' Gilday said in his statement".

Modly had earlier described the symptoms of infected sailors aboard the carrier as being "very mild" - namely body aches and sore throats. "Both of those go hand in glove".

The ship was last in port in Vietnam more than two weeks ago.

The USS Roosevelt isn't the only part of the military getting hit by the coronavirus crisis. "We've had aircraft flying to and from the ship and so we just don't want to say that it was that particular port visit".

At that time, the number of cases in the country was low and all were in the northern part of the country away from the port. The secretary also noted that 5,000 crew members on board are now being tested for the virus.

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