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Navy reports 2 ships in Middle East facing coronavirus outbreaks
The Navy on Friday reported more than a dozen COVID-19 cases among service members aboard a warship in the Middle East, with several people possibly infected on another ship.
The military branch announced the coronavirus outbreak aboard the amphibious transport dock USS San Diego in a press release, adding that it had also identified "several persons under investigation" on the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea.
The Navy added that medical personnel is conducting contact tracing to determine the origin of the outbreak on the ships.
The USS San Diego is currently docked in Bahrain, with the Navy explaining that all "positive cases have been isolated on board, and the ship remains in a restricted COVID bubble."
Meanwhile, the Navy said it would not disclose the location of the USS Philippine Sea "due to operational security," adding that it is "expected to pull into port to conduct further testing of all who have possibly been exposed and provide rapid testing capability and medical treatment centers, as needed."
The Navy said that people who were identified as having close contact with the infected service members have been isolated aboard the ship while following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bahrain Ministry of Health.
"U.S. 5th Fleet is committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force," the Navy added Friday. "While the health and well-being of our personnel are a priority, we remain ready to support the U.S. Central Command mission and our regional and coalition partners."
The new infections come just over a week after the Navy reported three COVID-19 cases among sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which last year became the center of a massive coronavirus outbreak.
The outbreak last year was the largest the military has seen since the start of the pandemic. More than 1,200 service members aboard the ship tested positive for COVID-19, with all 4,800 crew members sent ashore to Guam to quarantine for weeks.