Navy Imposes 14-Day Quarantine Between Port Calls for Ships in Europe Amid Coronavirus Worries

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Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross.
Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) handle line during a sea and anchor evolution, Dec. 16, 2019. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrea Rumple)

The U.S. Navy's 6th Fleet, which primarily operates around Europe and Africa, will impose a 14-day quarantine on ships between port calls in Europe in light of growing concerns over the coronavirus.

Any ship visiting a European port will be required to spend at least 14 days at sea afterward, as first reported by CNN.

"In conjunction with other fleets, we have instituted a 14-day underway period between port visits to allow for crew monitoring," 6th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Kyle Raines told CNN.

Sailors and US Marines from 6th Fleet are responsible for covering half of the Atlantic Ocean and seas around Europe and Africa -- a total of 20 million square miles of water as well as 14 million square miles of land spanning 105 countries.

The new coronavirus has been found in several European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and the UK. In Italy, over 2,200 people tested positive for the disease and 79 people had died as of Tuesday evening, according to The Washington Post.

The new guidance follows the US Navy's directive for its 7th Fleet, which operates in the Asia-Pacific region. That regulation was made last week out of "an abundance of caution," according to Navy officials.

The US military has taken increased measures to address the spread of the new coronavirus, for which at least one US soldier has tested positive. The 23-year-old male soldier is in self-quarantine at an off-base residence in South Korea, according to US Forces Korea, the command responsible for US operations in the country.

Health officials are investigating whether others were exposed, as the soldier had visited several US bases in the country, including Camps Walker and Carroll.

US Army recruits will also be screened for the disease upon arrival at basic training locations throughout the US.

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