HMS Queen Elizabeth: How many have Covid on Navy flagship - and where is the Carrier Strike Group now?

HMS Queen Elizabeth: How many have Covid on Navy flagship - and where is the Carrier Strike Group now? (Photo: PA)
HMS Queen Elizabeth: How many have Covid on Navy flagship - and where is the Carrier Strike Group now? (Photo: PA)

An outbreak of Covid-19 has been confirmed on the Royal Navy’s flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth

Around 100 cases have been confirmed so far across the Carrier Strike Group (CSG), which is being led on a 28-week deployment by the HMS Queen Elizabeth. 

The Royal Navy’s flagship vessel is on its first operational deployment since being commissioned in 2017..

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    The outbreak was discovered through routine testing, and the Royal Navy has stressed that measures were put in place to deal with such an incident, and routine activity on the ships will continue. 

    Sailors aboard several ships in the fleet have been affected, but there are reports that the USS The Sullivans from the US Navy and the HNLMS Evertsen, a Dutch frigate, have not suffered an outbreak.

    Around 3,700 personnel are part of the CSG, which is made up of  six Royal Navy ships, a Royal Navy submarine, a US Navy destroyer and a Dutch frigate.

    It is unclear exactly how the outbreak has happened and investigation will be launched. 

    There have been reports that sailors returning from shore leave from Cyprus could be the cause. 

    A spokesperson for the Royal Navy confirmed that all CSG personnel have had two doses of Covid vaccine. 

    They also said there are a range of mitigation measures on board, including masks, social distancing and a track and trace system.

    They said: "As part of routine testing, a small number of crew from the Carrier Strike Group have tested positive for Covid-19.

    "The Carrier Strike Group will continue to deliver their operational tasks and there are no effects on the deployment."

    How many crew members are on the HMS Queen Elizabeth?

    HMS Queen Elizabeth is the joint largest and most powerful vessel ever constructed for the Royal Navy.

    The warship departed from Portsmouth Naval Base in May 2021, with the Queen and the prime minister both onboard before it embarked on its first journey. 

    The aircraft carrier, along with its sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, cost more than £6bn.

    It is not clear how many crew members are currently aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth. 

    The aircraft carrier tends to have between 700 and 1600 crew onboard, depending on the nature of its operations. 

    As the SCG is currently accompanied by naval helicopters and F35B fighter jets from both the US Marine Corps and RAF, it is likely that the vessel is close to being fully manned. 

    Around 100 sailors across the CSG have been taken ill with Covid. 

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said that none of the sailors who’ve tested positive for Covid have been seriously affected by the virus. 

    Where is the HMS Queen Elizabeth now?

    The HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently in the Gulf of Aden, in the Indo-Pacific, around a quarter a way into a seven-month world tour. 

    It will arrive in Japan later this year before returning to the UK. 

    A ship in the CSG recently had to return to Italy for maintenance after suffering engine difficulties. 

    This occurred after the CSG transited through the Suez Canal.