US sailors joining East Sea exercise asked to wear face masks

Two US Navy admirals in charge of a rare exercise in the East Sea say "extraordinary" coronavirus measures taken by the service, including requiring all sailors to wear face masks, have made their aircraft carrier strike groups prepared during one of the most tense maritime environments in the world.

VOV, VOVworld, crew, US sailors, joining, East Sea, exercise, wear, face, masks. Covid-19, , crew, US sailors, joining, East Sea, exercise, wear, face, masks. Covid-19The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and Ronald Reagan transit the East Sea. (Photo: CNN)

The Navy's response to the pandemic comes after one of its Pacific-based carriers, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, was crippled for weeks earlier this year by an outbreak that infected hundreds of its crew.

The Navy has also spaced out mealtimes, instituted social distancing and brought aboard specialists, including microbiologists and extra health personnel, said Wikoff and Adm. James Kirk, commander of Carrier Strike Group 11, led by the USS Nimitz.

More than 12,000 sailors and aviators are taking part in a dual-carrier deployment to the East Sea (known internationally as South China Sea), the first time two of the US Navy’s massive warships have exercised in the region in six years.

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