March 26 (UPI) — The Navy has ordered the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to pull into Guam and have its 5,000-strong crew of sailors tested for the novel coronavirus, according to acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly.
The carrier was in the midst of a deployment to the Phillippine and South China seas when it was ordered to ship to Guam.
The Roosevelt “is operationally capable if called upon to do so,” told reporters at the Pentagon this morning, “but we are pulling the ship into Guam. Nobody from the ship will be allowed to leave the ship other than on the pier.”
It’s unclear how long it will remain there, but the move cuts the number of carriers in the region by half, according to Breaking Defense.
On Wednesday Defense Secretary Mark Esper enacted a 60-day stop-movement order for U.S. service members and their families stationed overseas, as well as civilian staff employed by the Department of Defense.
The announcement came on the heels of domestic travel restrictions for service members, a pause in troop rotations in Afghanistan and on the same day DoD officials acknowledged rates of infection were increasing among service members.
There have been 104 documented cases in the Navy and 224 among all military branches.
That figure makes the rate of infection — 175 per one million troops — higher than the U.S. at large, which was 135 per million people as of Wednesday.
Pentagon officials said Wednesday they expect the rate of infection to increase among service members in the coming weeks, but are not able to project more than about three weeks into the future.