First US service member in Europe tested coronavirus Covid-19 positive

9 March 2020 (Last Updated March 20th, 2020 15:34)

A US Navy sailor has been officially confirmed positive with coronavirus Covid-19, making them the first US service member in Europe to contract the virus.

First US service member in Europe tested coronavirus Covid-19 positive
The US Defense Department is working with other government agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Credit: Food and Drug Administration.

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A US Navy sailor has been officially confirmed positive with coronavirus Covid-19, making them the first US service member in Europe to contract the virus.

The sailor was stationed at Naval Support Activity Naples in Italy and tested positive on 6 March.

The patient is currently staying at home and is being provided with support and medical care.

As a preventive measure, all other personnel who have come in close contact with him have been asked to put themselves to self-isolation at their residence.

In a statement, US European Command (EUCOM) said: “US European Command and US Naval Forces Europe-Africa are committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force.

“We remain in close coordination with Italian authorities, US embassy, and public health authorities to ensure the wellbeing of our personnel and the local population.”

A thorough contact investigation is being carried out by military health professionals.

EUCOM added: “Depending on the results of that investigation, additional precautionary measures may be taken.”

Moreover, a US Marine assigned to Fort Belvoir in Virginia, US, has also tested positive with Covid -19 and is undergoing treatment at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

The marine had travelled overseas on official business and returned recently.

These two new cases come after one US soldier in South Korea was confirmed positive with the virus late last month.

With these developments and the evolving nature of the outbreak, the US Army has decided to limit travel to and from Italy and South Korea.

It has also prohibited ‘US exercises, exchanges and visits in the most affected nations’, reported Reuters.

Meanwhile, a Nato spokesperson has confirmed that one Nato staff member working at Nato HQ in Brussels has tested positive with Covid-19.

The staff member returned from a holiday in northern Italy and is currently in self-isolation at home.

In a statement, Nato spokesperson said: “Within minutes of receiving the result, all the immediate work colleagues were informed. They had been working from home at the end of last week and continue to do so.

“All Nato headquarters staff have also been informed of the confirmed case. Nato continues to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis and to take all necessary measures.”