HMS Queen Elizabeth: Coronavirus

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 17th September 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the second covid-19 outbreak onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth on the outcome of training exercises involving the vessel.

Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what additional steps are being taken onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth to prevent further outbreaks of covid-19 onboard the vessel.

Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the latest outbreak of covid-19 onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth will effect the vessel's ability to declare carrier strike capability ahead of its first operational deployment in 2021.

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Extensive COVID-19 quarantine and testing procedures were developed and successfully employed, prior to sailing in UK waters, and these continue to be refined. Although there was a two-day delay for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH sailing, extant measures have proven our ability to detect, contain and manage COVID-19 ahead of bringing the Strike Group together. We remain on track, ensuring our ability to deliver training exercises, declare Initial Operating Capability (Carrier Strike) and conduct the first operational deployment in 2021, all as scheduled.

Individuals who present as symptomatic or who have tested positive have been isolated ashore and, while at sea, any individual who experiences symptoms will be isolated onboard in accordance with Public Health England guidelines and receive the appropriate medical attention. We continue to work with the NHS Test and Trace system to ensure the virus does not spread further, and with Public Health England to ensure all appropriate control measures are in place.

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