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Onshore quarantine of U.S. aircraft carrier sailors begins on Guam

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Onshore quarantine of U.S. aircraft carrier sailors begins on Guam

By Maureen Maratita

 

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FILE PHOTO: The USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is seen while entering into the port in Da Nang, Vietnam, March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Kham/

 

HAGATNA, Guam (Reuters) - About 1,000 sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt - roughly a fifth of its crew - were under quarantine at a U.S. naval base on Guam on Thursday as the Navy sought to control a coronavirus outbreak aboard the warship.

 

The evacuation of sailors from the vessel began on Wednesday, a week after the first coronavirus case was reported on the aircraft carrier, and followed public disclosure of a scathing letter to Navy command from the ship’s captain urging “decisive action” to control the outbreak.

 

In his four-page letter, the contents of which were confirmed by U.S. officials to Reuters on Tuesday, Captain Brett Crozier described a bleak situation aboard the nuclear-powered carrier as more sailors tested positive for the virus.

 

The letter put the Pentagon on the defensive about whether it was doing enough to keep the Theodore Roosevelt’s 5,000 crew members safe, and alarmed the families of those aboard the vessel, whose home port is in San Diego.

 

In the letter, the captain called for more than 4,000 sailors to be removed from the ship and isolated, saying the Navy otherwise would be failing to properly safeguard “our most trusted asset - our sailors.”

 

Acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said he disagreed with the captain’s assertion that all but 10 percent of the ship’s crew could be removed from the vessel if necessary.

 

“This ship has weapons on it. It has munitions on it... It requires a certain number of people on that ship to maintain the safety and security of the ship,” Modly said.

 

Asked whether the captain would face discipline for the letter, he said: “The fact that he wrote the letter up to his chain of command to express his concerns would absolutely not result in any type of retaliation.”

 

When questioned repeatedly over the leak, he said: “I don’t know who leaked the letter to the media. That would be something that would violate the principles of good order and discipline, if he were responsible for that. But I don’t know that.”

 

The carrier was in the Pacific when the outbreak started, and has since docked at the U.S. Naval Base Guam, on the southern end of the American island territory in the western Pacific.

 

HOTEL QUARANTINE ON GUAM

 

An initial group of 1,000 sailors were moved from the ship onto the base on Wednesday, with the Navy saying that 93 personnel had tested positive for the disease so far.

 

Those testing positive or showing flu-like symptoms were placed in isolation for treatment, while the rest were quarantined, the region’s U.S. Navy commander, Rear Admiral John Menoni, said during a news conference on the island on Thursday.

 

Those who remain asymptomatic and test negative will be transported to vacant hotel space about 8 miles away in Guam’s commercial Tumon district, where they will remain quarantined for two weeks, territorial Governor Lourdes Leon Guerrero told Reuters.

 

The quarantined sailors will be moved to hotel quarters in the next 12 to 24 hours in an operation that will be run entirely by the U.S. military, Menoni said.

 

The Navy said on Wednesday that 2,700 crew would ultimately be removed from the ship over the next few days.

 

Menoni insisted that the aircraft carrier, despite the outbreak, “is not incapacitated” and “could go to sea tomorrow if conditions required.”

 

The admiral said he was unaware of any discussions surrounding possible discipline of the ship’s captain, adding, “That’s not my role.”

 

Guam governor Leon Guerrero said some residents of the island, whose tourist-based economy has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, had been “pushing back” against welcoming the stricken aircraft carrier to shore.

 

But she was assured the sailors would be kept completely isolated from Guam’s population.

 

“These are our sailors who go out in harm’s way to protect our security in this part of the world,” she said. “I feel I have the moral obligation to reciprocate if I could.”

 

As of Thursday, Leon Guerrero said, Guam had 77 known cases of coronavirus, including three deaths.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-04-02

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I'm sure the people of Guam are thrilled.

 

 

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15 hours ago, snoop1130 said:

But she was assured the sailors would be kept completely isolated from Guam’s population.

Neat trick that; the hotel must have no Guam employees working there. I'd be willing to bet the sailors will ride from the base to the hotel in a bus driven by a Guam person, several buses.

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The reason he should be relieved of command is for allowing the 5 day port call in DaNang last month where the virus probably was transferred onto the ship. 

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On 4/3/2020 at 8:59 AM, VocalNeal said:

Says more about panic in the US rather than a measured approach. If I read correctly out of the 1000 evacuated only 93 have tested positive. Added to that the crew are all fit and healthy and certainly younger than 60.

You obviously don't understand how this virus works.  Put 93 known positive cases in a closed environment of 5000 people, and you will not have a good outcome.  No need to wait for people to die to figure this out.  It's called "science". 

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23 hours ago, morrobay said:

The reason he should be relieved of command is for allowing the 5 day port call in DaNang last month where the virus probably was transferred onto the ship. 

He did not come up with that port call.  These are organized at the highest levels of the Pentagon and state department, and the ships comply with their schedules.  Commanding officers do not pick and choose where their ships go on deployment.

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10 minutes ago, USNret said:

He did not come up with that port call.

He had the power to stop it. He had the power to contact his superiors and say it isnt a good idea. He had the power to put rules on the crew during that port call. Its his ship.

 

A failure of leadership.

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26 minutes ago, Nyezhov said:

He had the power to stop it. He had the power to contact his superiors and say it isnt a good idea. He had the power to put rules on the crew during that port call. Its his ship.

 

A failure of leadership.

As of 30 March Vietnam has a total of around 230 cases of Covid, with six in Da Nang. How many cases were their during the port call? At the time of arrival on 5 March, was Vietnam considered a risk country for foreign arrivals by the US Embassy / trump administration?

 

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1103568/vietnam-coronavirus-cases-by-region/

 

More importantly the ship's crew don't have the opinion as you.

 

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/sailors-send-off-fired-carrier-captain-with-cheers-and-applause-2020-4?r=US&IR=T

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, simple1 said:

As of 30 March Vietnam has a total of around 230 cases of Covid, with six in Da Nang. How many cases were their during the port call? At the time of arrival on 5 March, was Vietnam considered a risk country for foreign arrivals by the US Embassy / trump administration?

 

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1103568/vietnam-coronavirus-cases-by-region/

 

More importantly the ship's crew don't have the opinion as you.

 

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/sailors-send-off-fired-carrier-captain-with-cheers-and-applause-2020-4?r=US&IR=T

 

 

Maybe but the population in Da-Nang the crew most likely were associating with could have been very high risk...

Edited by morrobay

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