The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has confirmed reports that several sailors onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth has tested positive for the Coronavirus.
One of two aircraft carriers in the Royal Navy fleet, the ‘QE’ as the ship is referred to boasts a sizeable Vincentian contingent. Over twenty (20) Vincentians are currently serving onboard predominately in the logistics department.
The media citing the MOD has reported that:
“Fewer than ten of the 1,000-strong group tested positive for COVID-19 on the ship, after the entire crew was swabbed for the virus before its latest deployment”. A reliable source has told us that so far seven (7) persons have received a positive test result.
The ship’s planned sailing has been pushed back 24 hours and around 100 more crew are isolating onboard after coming into contact with those that tested positive.
Breadfruit News has been told that the crew is currently being retested including the chefs and mechanical engineers who were exposed to the positive cases.
The challenge for the Ship’s command is determining when to sail as the virus may not peak until a few days. Navy sailors live and work closely together and it is believed that the numbers would increase.
Routines onboard the vessel have changed with personnel confined to working and eating in separate groups.
One Vincentian speaking to Breadfruit News said:
“To be honest I just want to sail and get back but understandably the Ship is taking all necessary precautions. Information is coming to us drip, drip so we are not sure when exactly we are going to sail now”.
No Vincentian has been reported to have contracted the virus. The Vincentian community onboard is said to be in good spirits notwithstanding the uncertainty and new routines.
The Ship is carrying out its final training package before its highly anticipated world tour next year.
The Queen Elizabeth class of ships are the largest and most powerful ever built by the Royal Navy. They are 280 metres in length, weigh 65,000 tonnes and boasts a top speed of 25+ knots.