A US Sailor in Europe Has Been Diagnosed With Coronavirus

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti walking in front of Italian sailors.
U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet and Italian Vice Adm. Paolo Treu, commander-in-chief, Naval Fleet are rendered honors from Italian sailors before embarking the Italian navy European multi-purpose frigate ITS Alpino (F 594) Feb. 7, 2020. (Marvin E. Thompson Jr./U.S. Navy)

A U.S. sailor based in Italy tested positive for the new coronavirus on Friday, defense officials said on Saturday, as the illness surges to more than 5,000 cases in Europe.

The case marks at least the second instance of a U.S. service member contracting the virus. A soldier in South Korea was diagnosed with COVID-19 late last month, along with his wife.

The sailor, who was not identified for privacy reasons, is based out of Naval Support Activity Naples and is restricted to his or her residence, according to a military news release. The service member is receiving medical care in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and host-country guidelines.

It's the first coronavirus case for U.S. military personnel in Europe.

"Military health professionals are conducting a thorough contact investigation to determine whether any other personnel may have been exposed," the news release states. "Depending on the results of that investigation, additional precautionary measures may be taken."

Related: Marine Corps Cancels Reunion of Iwo Jima Veterans over Coronavirus Fears

Other troops who had close contact with the sailor have been notified and are now in self-isolation at their residences, the release adds.

Concern over the highly contagious and sometimes fatal virus has many on edge. Worldwide cases surpassed 100,000 this week, leading some countries and U.S. states to enact states of emergency, shuttering some schools and canceling events.

The military has canceled some international exercises as a result of the virus, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said more cancellations may be possible if the illness continues to spread.

The Marine Corps also canceled a reunion in Japan for surviving Iwo Jima veterans that was set to take place later this month, Task & Purpose reported on Friday.

Leaders with U.S. European Command and Naval Forces Europe-Africa will take every step possible to protect the health of the force, the news release states.

"We remain in close coordination with Italian authorities, U.S. embassy, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population," officials said.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

Read more: US May Cancel More Joint Military Exercises to Contain Coronavirus Threat

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