France investigating more than 1,000 coronavirus cases on aircraft carrier
The French navy is investigating the origins of a coronavirus outbreak on one of its aircraft carriers that has infected more than 1,000 sailors, a Navy spokesman Cmdr. Eric Lavault said Friday.
Of those sailors infected on the Charles de Gaulle vessel, one remains in intensive care and more than 20 have been hospitalized due to complications associated with the disease, according to Lavault, The Associated Press reported.
Water and airborne vessels such as cruise ships, aircraft carriers, submarines and airplanes have proven to be hotbeds for the coronavirus once exposed due to the close quarters in which people have to operate while aboard.
Lavault said that while they tried to impose social distancing measures on the Charles de Gaulle, it was almost impossible to stop the spread.
Officials are reportedly unsure how the outbreak began on the vessel, but contact tracing has already started to isolate a point of origin.
However, there have been several instances that could have possibly prompted the spread, including journalists coming on and off the aircraft carrier, a stop in the French port of Brest for a “naval diplomacy mission” and a stop in Cyprus, according to Lavault.
The Navy spokesman said that “all hypotheses are on the table,” according to the wire service.
Following the outbreak, the aircraft carrier is undergoing a thorough disinfection process since it arrived in Toulon, France, earlier in the week.
France is one of the hardest hit countries on the European continent, with almost 150,000 confirmed cases of the virus resulting in nearly 18,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The announcement of the probe comes as the United States has endured a similar outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. More than 650 sailors aboard the vessel have contracted the virus as of Thursday; six are in the hospital and one is in intensive care.