HMS Queen Elizabeth postpones sailing after coronavirus outbreak

The aircraft carrier's departure from Portsmouth has been delayed until tomorrow

Plans to deploy HMS Queen Elizabeth on her latest training exercise have been put back by 24 hours because of a coronavirus outbreak.

The £3 billion warship was set to leave Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Monday afternoon for training exercises but the departure was put on hold at the last moment.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed that “fewer than 10” members of the 1,000-strong crew had tested positive for the coronavirus and had been taken ashore to be put into isolation in barracks.

Other sailors who had contact with their infected crew-mates will isolate on board the 65,000 tonne ship which is expected to leave Portsmouth as soon as Tuesday.

A small number of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s personnel have tested positive for Covid during routine preparation for sailing. Those affected have been isolated and are working with the NHS Test and Trace system to ensure the virus does not spread further. The crew will continue to follow appropriate health guidelines and the HMS Queen Elizabeth will depart once their status has been confirmed

MOD statement

The Royal Navy flagship is due to take part in a NATO exercise with other warships.

Her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is expected to undertake its maiden operational deployment in 2023.