April 18, 2020 – The twenty six sailors who were placed in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 at Mumbai, belong to INS Angre, a shore establishment. There has so far not been a single case of Covid-19 onboard any ship, submarine or air station of the Indian Navy. Our naval assets continue to be mission-deployed in three dimensions, with all the networks and space assets functioning optimally. The Navy remains combat-ready, mission-capable and is in full readiness to partake in the national mission to fight the pandemic as well as to provide support to our friendly neighbors in the IOR.
Our assets continue to remain on patrol covering a vast oceanic swath from the Straits of Malacca in the East to Bab-el-Mandeb in the West, including undertaking Operation Sankalp to provide reassurance and protection to our merchant vessels and Anti-piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden.
The detection of these Covid-19 cases is a result of meticulous contact tracing and aggressive screening/testing carried out by Western Naval Command after one sailor tested positive on 07 April. All these sailors continue to remain asymptomatic and are being monitored at INHS Asvini, under the care of the best medical professionals.
Since the sailor was tested positive for Covid-19, the entire premises of the Unit have been sealed off. Containment zones and buffer areas have been designated and frequent disinfection continues to be carried out as per protocol to contain spread by breaking the chain of transmission.
All other areas within naval premises have been under strict lockdown and stringent quarantine and safety protocols have been enforced for personnel and their families, with door to door screening being undertaken for identification of cases, if any.
All missions for coastal and offshore security continue as before. Operational units are being maintained in readiness by following a 14 day quarantine routine to meet immediate contingencies, including assistance to Civil Authorities and Friendly Maritime Neighbors.
Several quarantine facilities have been set up in naval premises at Mumbai, Goa, Kochi and Visakhapatnam for use by our countrymen. Last week, a batch of 44 ex-Iran pilgrims from the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir who were quarantined at the naval facility in Mumbai, returned to their homes fully satisfied at the care and comfort they received from the Indian Navy. Naval aircraft have undertaken many missions flying supplies and personnel aiding state governments.
The Indian Navy has been proactive in sharing experiences, and SOPs adopted by the Indian Navy have been hosted on the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) website with a view to share our protocols with other navies.
The Indian Navy is committed to containing the spread of the infection to the maximum extent possible and remains operationally prepared as always, to meet any challenges in the maritime domain