Romanian frigate suspends NATO mission due to massive COVID-19 infection

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A Romanian frigate returned to its base port of Constanta on Friday after withdrawing from an ongoing NATO mission in the Mediterranean Sea amid mass COVID-19 infections on board.

“Of the 235 crew members on board, 110 were confirmed infected with SARS-CoV-2 in a test conducted in Turkey on Monday, Nov. 9,” the General Staff of the Naval Forces (SMFN) said in a press release on the situation of the Frigate “Regina Maria (Queen Mary),” one of the three most important warships of the country’s Navy.

The frigate had to end its scheduled mission almost a month in advance after the infections.

“Most of those infected being asymptomatic and only four people with mild symptoms of COVID-19,” added the release.

All infected seamen are being medically evaluated on the day at the Modular Military Intervention and Treatment Hospital installed on the Port Stadium in Constanta, eastern Romania, and the military doctors will decide whether to hospitalize, home or institutionally isolate the patients based on their respective conditions.

Those tested negative in the ship’s crew will be placed in institutional quarantine and will be retested, according to the methodology of surveillance of the new coronavirus infection.

The frigate participated, starting on Oct. 27, in a NATO mission to monitor the naval traffic in the eastern Mediterranean, a mission that would end on Dec. 7.

According to the Navy, the medical situation began on Nov. 7, when two seamen on board presented a moderately altered state of health, with specific symptoms of COVID-19.

On Sunday, the frigate docked at the Turkish military base in Aksaz and the two infected were repatriated with a Romanian Air Force aircraft. On Monday, other people on board were tested, and on Tuesday, the warship set off for return.

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