The French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle arrived on Sunday 12th April 2020 in Toulon. 1900 sailors will be placed in medical isolation.
Unpublished operation Sunday 12th April 2020 for the navy, faced with the anticipated return to Toulon of the nuclear aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle due to new coronavirus on board. 1,900 sailors will be dispatched for two-week medical isolation in sites in the South of France.
Le porte-avions Charles de Gaulle et son escorte rejoindront leur port d’attache le dimanche 12 avril dans l’après-midi, au terme de trois mois d’opérations en Méditerranée orientale et en mer du Nord. pic.twitter.com/ksMVYMErNC
— Marine nationale (@MarineNationale) April 11, 2020
The docking went off without a hitch, AFP Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean told AFP on Sunday mid-afternoon. It took place 10 days ahead of the mission end date initially planned.
An unprecedented operation
A heavy logistics operation to disembark the entire crew is now underway, according to Christine Ribbe, spokesman for this prefecture.
The parade of buses and other means of transport will be “clocked, timed”, with one objective: to respect a “tempo to prevent sailors from crossing paths”, and thus reduce the risk of new contamination.
“According to my latest information, there was no worsening” of the state of health of the 50 soldiers tested positive for coronavirus, said Sunday noon Christine Ribbe, spokesman for the maritime prefecture of the Mediterranean.
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Tests for everyone
“Everyone will be tested”, and the soldiers, some 1,700 people who served on Charles-de-Gaulle plus 200 of the frigate that accompanied it, will be confined for two weeks’ medical isolation, without contact with their families, “On military bases of the Var and the region”.
The soldiers will be evacuated preferably by “nautical means” as well as by “bus, trucks (and other) vehicles” to “avoid any contact of the sailors with the outside,” said Ms. Ribbe.
The tested positive sailors and those with symptoms will be “transferred to places dedicated,” “consistent health service of armies and the military hospital (Toulon) Sainte-Anne.”
It is only after sanitary quarantine and tests that the crews of Charles-de-Gaulle, which cruised in the Atlantic, will be able to reach their homes.
“Our objective is to protect all our sailors but also their families and the French by deploying an unprecedented welcome system that we want to be the most human, the most coordinated, the most concerted but also the most effective”, according to the door – word of the maritime prefecture.
In addition to the isolation of the military, the army plans to disinfect all buildings and aircraft, an unprecedented operation, “to allow them to recover their full operational capacity as soon as possible,” according to the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
This “bio-cleaning” operation will start on Tuesday, for a duration that was not specified on Sunday by the maritime prefecture.
The announcement of the early return to France of Charles-de-Gaulle was made Wednesday, after the discovery on board of suspected cases. The origin of the contamination of the carrier strike group is not yet known.
It has not been in contact with an outside element since a stopover in Brest on March 15th. Three weeks, therefore, passed between this and the appearance of the first cases, beyond the fortnight usually used to prevent contagion.