A third of the sailors on France’s aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle – 668 out of nearly 2,000 – are infected with coronavirus, the navy says.
The ship returned to the French port of Toulon early from Atlantic exercises. Twenty sailors are in hospital, one of them in intensive care.
The figure for those infected is likely to rise, as 30% of the test results are not yet in. The navy is investigating how so many sailors caught the virus.
France’s Covid-19 death toll is 17,167.
Of those 10,643 died in hospital. French health authorities said on Wednesday 6,457 Covid-19 patients were in intensive care in France – 273 fewer than on Tuesday.
The aircraft carrier is now in quarantine. Last week it was brought home 10 days early from its Atlantic deployment after some sailors showed symptoms.
Earlier this month nearly 600 coronavirus cases wereconfirmed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, one of two US aircraft carriers in the western Pacific.
One sailor later died of Covid-19 in Guam, after the ship – which has a total crew of 4,800 – had docked there.
The ship’s captain Brett Crozier was fired after his letter pleading for help with the outbreak was leaked to US media. A public outcry over that dismissal triggered the resignation of acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly.