Return of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, April 11, 2020 in Toulon. - NATIONAL NAVY / SIPA

Almost two weeks after their return to Toulon, 120 sailors from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, tested positive for Covid-19 on board or on their return to shore, were declared cured. They have been able to break out of their confinement, the Navy spokesman announced on Friday.

These sailors "have not shown any symptoms for 48 hours and have been tested after leaving" the Toulon army training hospital or their confinement in a military compound, detailed Captain Eric Lavault. They arrived in Toulon aboard the aircraft carrier on April 12 with symptoms of the new coronavirus.

Twelve hospitalized sailors, two in intensive care

“For those going out, wearing a mask is compulsory at home. They are not sent home if there is a person at risk at home, ”he added. Thus, a hundred other sailors considered healed, who could have returned home, have chosen to remain in the military for the time being.

Twelve sailors are still hospitalized, including two in intensive care, said the spokesman for the Navy. Almost two thirds of the aircraft carrier's crew, or 1,046 sailors out of 1,760, had tested positive. Sailors tested negative or asymptomatic are currently in the fortnight in a military compound. "These sailors will come out gradually from Monday, up to a hundred per day", after an individualized medical examination by the army health service, according to Eric Lavault.

Investigation of massive contamination

According to the staff, the virus was probably invited on board during a stopover of the vessel in Brest in mid-March. Two investigations, one epidemiological and the other of command, must shed light on the causes and the management of this massive contamination which forced the Charles de Gaulle to anticipate his return from mission of ten days.

Beyond the aircraft carrier, less than 50 cumulative cases of contamination have been identified among French soldiers in external operations since the start of the health crisis, said General Lecointre, Chief of the Defense Staff. Only "a few cases" were found among the 5,100 soldiers of the anti-jihadist operation Barkhane in the Sahel, he assured Wednesday in the National Assembly.

In total, the Ministry of the Armed Forces currently has 1,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus among its staff, according to figures provided Wednesday by the army health service (SSA), which include the thousand sailors of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle tested positive.


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