An outbreak of COVID-19 has been confirmed on the Royal Navy’s flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Approximately 100 crew members have tested positive for COVID-19 and other warships in the fleet have been affected with U.K. media reporting a smaller outbreak on HMS Prince of Wales on July 16.
Britain’s flagship recently took part in a joint forces operation with two U.S. Navy task groups for training and a demonstration of combined naval power in the Middle East. HMS Queen Elizabeth – leading the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group on a global mission – linked up with the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group and USS Iwo Jima amphibious ready group in the Gulf of Aden.
The two-day exercise saw the three navy task groups, comprising U.S., U.K. and Dutch ships, test their abilities in anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare tactics and techniques.
The operation is part of a 28 global deployment. HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently in the Indian Ocean and is scheduled to travel to Japan later this year. The Ministry of Defence said its operations have not been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak at this time.
On July 13, the U.S. and U.K. extended an existing agreement covering Enhanced Cooperation on Carrier Operations and Maritime Power Projection, due to expire in January 2022, by an additional year.