Another US Navy ship at sea has reported a coronavirus outbreak and is returning to port.
A Navy statement said at least 18 members of the crew of a destroyer, the USS Kidd, have tested positive and it expects the number to grow. It said it is evaluating the extent of the outbreak aboard the ship.
It is only the second Navy ship, among about 90 deployed around the world, to report a coronavirus outbreak. The other is the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
One sailor who displayed symptoms was flown off the Kidd yesterday to a medical facility at San Antonio, where he tested positive for the virus.
After the positive case was confirmed at San Antonio, the Navy deployed a specialised medical team to the ship to conduct contact tracing and additional onsite testing.
“The first patient transported is already improving and will self-isolate. We are taking every precaution to ensure we identify, isolate, and prevent any further spread onboard the ship,” Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, commander US Naval Forces Southern Command and US 4th Fleet said.
“Our medical team continues coordinating with the ship and our focus is the safety and wellbeing of every Sailor.”
The Navy said the ship will return to port, where the crew will continue to clean and disinfect the ship, observing protocols in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Navy-specific guidelines.
The Navy continues to struggle with a coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier that is docked in Guam and has more than 800 confirmed virus cases.
Asked whether the Pentagon fears that the Kidd may become another Roosevelt crisis, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, said the Navy acted quickly once learning of the first symptomatic sailor aboard the Kidd.
“The Navy has lessons learned from prior experience with a COVID crisis, and they have been quickly applying those to this case,” Mr Hoffman said.
“Fingers crossed, the Navy is doing everything they can right now, and we’re going to hope for the best outcome, but they are going to take all of the prudent steps that they possibly can.”
Coronavirus: what you need to know
What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?
The symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar, as they both can cause fever and respiratory issues.
Both infections are also transmitted the same way, via coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus.
The speed of transmission and the severity of the infection are the key differences between COVID-19 and the flu.
The time from infection to the appearance of symptoms is typically shorter with the flu. However, there are higher proportions of severe and critical COVID-19 infections.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing involved minimising contact with people and maintaining a distance of over one metre between you and others.
When practicing social distancing, you should avoid public transport, limit non-essential travel, work from home and skip large gatherings.
It is okay to go outdoors. However, when you do leave home, avoid touching your face and frequently wash your hands.
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