About 82 percent of the total 301 sailors present on the South Korean Navy Destroyer have been affected by COVID, as confirmed by their positive test reports. The news was made public by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea.
The destroyer Munmu the Great was pacing towards the completion of its six months anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia and around the Strait of Hormuz, when its crew got tied up with COVID.
An officer, along with the other five individuals who had been in close contact with him, had tested positive last week. This stirred a demand of proper testing of the entire crew, following which sixty-two more individuals were found to be positive by the end of the week.
Sunday witnessed a huge addition to the infected members when one hundred and seventy nine (179) more individuals were confirmed to be positive. Fifty individuals’ report turned out to be negative while some other four were indecisive, as reported by the ROK Joint Chiefs.
A total of sixteen members have been admitted to the hospital, out of which one is residing in the intensive care unit; the other members are in isolation onboard the vessel.
An equipped medical team loaded with supplies had been sent over the vessel on Thursday, as reported by defense officials of South Korea.
For the safe evacuation of the crew members, to help them reach home for better care, the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, has ordered for the mobilization of a couple of aerial tankers. This operation is expected to be finished on Tuesday.
The entire vessel will be properly sanitized and a relief crew will fly down to take the charge of the destroyer Munmu the Great. The vessel’s present mission will come to an end early with the vessel returning to South Korea.
The crew on the vessel wasn’t vaccinated, and was only quarantined, before Munmu the Great set sail in February. The vessel had begun sailing before the inoculation programme set foot in the country.
This outbreak is seen as the “worst-ever mass infection” among the service class and is considered to have begun following the call for supplies at an African port the previous month.