A US Navy ship part of the Caribbean Anti-Drug Operation suffered a coronavirus outbreak and will return to the country

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A new US Navy ship on the high seas reported an outbreak of coronavirus on board and going to return to port, the military force reported on Friday.

In a public statement, the Navy said at least 18 crew members of the destroyer USS Kidd tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and the number is expected to increase. He added that he is still evaluating the extent of the outbreak on the ship.

The Kidd is part of the deployment of more United States warships and planes in the Caribbean and the Pacific to fight drug cartels in the region. Announcing the move earlier this month, the Donald Trump government said these military movements also aimed to prevent “corrupt actors” like Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro from exploiting the pandemic to smuggle more narcotics.

In fact, James Story, the North American chargé d’affaires in the Caribbean country, indicated that since April 1, eight operations were carried out in which eight tons of that drug, which has a value of 165 million dollars, were seized. The last episode of this nature took place on Thursday, when US forces seized three tons of cocaine from two planes traveling from Venezuela to Guatemala.

A sailor who showed symptoms was airlifted Thursday to a medical facility in San Antonio, where he tested positive for the virus.

After confirmation of the case in San Antonio, the Navy sent a specialized medical team to the ship to conduct contact tracking and additional tests on board.

“The first patient transported is already improving and will voluntarily isolate himself. We are taking every precaution to ensure that we identify, isolate, and prevent further spread on the ship, ”said Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, commander of the US Southern Command and 14th Fleet naval forces. “Our medical team continues to coordinate with the ship and our focus is on the safety and well-being of each sailor.”

The Navy said the Kidd will return to port, where the crew will continue to clean and disinfect the ship, by following the protocols of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and specific Navy guidelines.

The Navy continues to deal with another coronavirus outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is anchored in Guam and has more than 800 confirmed cases of the virus.

By ROBERT BURNS (Associated Press)

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