US Navy Confirms First Coronavirus Case Aboard Ship

March 16, 2020 Updated: March 16, 2020

A sailor based in San Diego has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the military, in what they say is the first case of COVID-19 aboard a Navy ship.

“The individual is currently quarantined at home in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines,” said a Navy statement on March 15. “The test result is considered presumptive positive, pending confirmation by the CDC.”

The positive test on March 13 marked “the first case for a sailor aboard a Navy ship,” according to the statement, which said the sailor was aboard the USS Boxer.

The Boxer is a large amphibious ship, second only in size to aircraft carriers, capable of carrying over 1,500 troops. It is currently moored in San Diego.

According to authorities, individuals identified as being in close contact with the sailor have been notified and are in isolation in their homes.

“None of them is aboard the ship currently,” said the Navy statement.

The Boxer is being cleaned in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Navy-Marine Corps Public Health Center.

So far 10 U.S. service members have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a March 15 statement, along with one civilian, two contractors, and eight family members.

The discovery of the sailor with coronavirus came just nine days after military family members visited the ship at sea, reported Military.com.

Close-quarters life aboard ships, such as the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess cruise ships, appears to make them into a petri dish for the virus to spread among those on board.

The Boxer returned to California in November from an eight-month deployment to the Middle East and Indo-Pacific, according to the United States Naval Institute.

A temporary travel ban for military personnel began today, which freezes changes of official permanent station and temporary duty assignment travel.

The orders could impact more than 20,000 sailors and their families slated to transfer during the next two months inside the United States and to certain overseas locations,” said a Navy statement.

Access and staffing to the Pentagon building have also been reduced.

“The Pentagon reservation is also taking actions and raised the health protection condition in the building and associated properties to Bravo,” said a statement.

“This means all tours of the building are cancelled. Starting March 16, offices in the building will go on minimum manning, with vast numbers of employees teleworking.”

”We are also restricting access of Pentagon officials who have been overseas in one of the CDC-defined Level 3 or 2 countries,” officials said.

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey