Coronavirus News Asia

US Pacific carriers face virus crisis

It’s a development that strikes fear in Pentagon circles — if it’s two big super carriers become sidelined by the coronavirus, no carriers presently deployed in the Pacific region can operate, raising readiness concerns down the line.

According to a report by Joseph Trevithick of The War Zone, two sailors onboard the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which forward-deployed in Japan and presently pier-side there, have tested positive for Covid-19.

This comes just a day after the US Navy announced it had quarantined the entire crew of another aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, on their ship in port in Guam after a number of sailors contracted the virus. 

Fox News was first to report the pair of Covid-19 cases among Reagan‘s crew on March 27, the report said.

Fleet Activities Yokosuka, a US Navy base in the city of the same name, where the carrier is presently moored, will reportedly be on lockdown at least through the weekend, the report said. It’s not clear yet what other steps the service may take, such as quarantining the entire ship.

Though Japan was one of the first countries outside of China to report confirmed cases of Covid-19, the country has had success in limiting the spread of the virus, the reporet said.

However, the Japanese capital Tokyo, some 40 miles north of Yokosuka, saw a spike in cases this week and authorities had already advised all residents to stay home this weekend to help prevent an “explosion” of new infections.

It’s unclear what impacts the Covid-19 cases may have on Reagan‘s readiness. The ship is presently in port undergoing maintenance, the report said.

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