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17 Apr, 2020 12:30

Almost HALF of French Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier group tested positive for Covid-19

Almost HALF of French Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier group tested positive for Covid-19

Some 1,081 servicemen of the 2,300-strong Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier group have tested positive for Covid-19, the French defense minister said. France’s only carrier was forced to return to port after the outbreak.

The Charles de Gaulle coronavirus tally surged by over 300 confirmed cases on Friday when the country’s military revealed new official figures.

Speaking to the country’s National Assembly via video link, Defense Minister Florence Parly said that 2,010 tests had been carried out within the carrier group and 1,081 sailors tested positive. Some 545 of them have shown symptoms and 24 remain hospitalized including one in an intensive care unit.

Speaking to the Senate before the minister, Director of the Armed Forces Health Service Maryline Gygax Généro gave a slightly different account of the outbreak, revealing that a large number of test results were still pending.

The Charles de Gaulle and its escort were forced to return to the French southern port of Toulon on Sunday after dozens of servicemen tested positive for coronavirus. The crew has been quarantined since then, yet the number of confirmed cases have continued to grow steadily.

Also on rt.com France launches probe into Covid-19 outbreak on its only aircraft carrier as 20 sailors remain in hospital, 1 in intensive care

This week, the French military launched an investigation into the outbreak, while reports by the country's media suggested that it might have grossly mishandled the situation. According to France Bleu radio which interviewed an anonymous crewmember of the carrier, the first case of Covid-19 was actually detected on board weeks ago, yet the vessel was still ordered out to sea – while its captain offered to halt the mission in the port of Brest when the group visited there mid-March.

France’s defense minister dismissed the allegations that the ship’s captain wanted to stop the mission weeks ago as false. Still, she admitted that it was not possible to tell whether  Covid-19 had been on board before the Brest stopover.

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