An outbreak of Covid-19 cases was reported on the largest Royal Navy warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, after the aircraft carrier stopped over in Limassol.
According to UK-based media, at least 100 crew members tested positive for coronavirus after they allegedly went partying in Cyprus, while cases were also said to have been reported on several other warships in the fleet accompanying it.
Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth departed from Portsmouth on May 22, leading a fleet of nine ships that are on a 26,000-mile voyage in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and East Asia.
It docked in Limassol on June 30, its second stop after Sicily.
The 1,600-member fleet participated in joint exercises with the British forces in Cyprus, while they also received training on the British bases and took in sports and other leisure activities during their stay on land. The crew, divided in groups, also had one day off.
The Daily Mail reported that all crew had completed their vaccination against Covid-19 but still contracted the virus. This was confirmed by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace who said all crew on the deployment had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and the outbreak was being managed.
Sources told The Sun that no one needed sick bay admission and the infections numbers are starting to fall.
A Royal Navy spokeswoman said that the cases resulted from routine testing. She added that mitigation measured on board included face masks, social distancing and a track and trace system.
“The Carrier Strike Group will continue to deliver their operational tasks and there are no effects on the deployment,” the spokeswoman said.
HMS Queen Elizabeth began sea trials in 2017, having replaced HMS Illustrious which was scrapped in 2014.
It has eight RAF and 10 US Marine Corps F35B stealth fighter jets onboard and will be accompanied to Asia by six Royal Navy ships, a submarine, 14 naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines.