A U.S. Navy sailor stationed in Naples, Italy tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) on Friday, marking the first case involving a U.S. service member in Europe.
The sailor is currently restricted to their residence and receiving medical care, according to a U.S. military press release. Officials are conducting an investigation to determine whether others have been exposed.
People who were identified as having close contact with the unnamed service member have been notified and are in self-isolation at their residences, according to the release.
“We are committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force,” the release said. “We remain in close coordination with Italian authorities, U.S. embassy, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population.”
This is the second U.S. service member to become infected with coronavirus. A 23-year-old soldier in South Korea tested positive in February and was placed under quarantine at his off-base residence. The soldier's wife has also tested positive.
The novel coronavirus has spread to 94 countries since it was first detected in Wuhan, China earlier this year.
There have been nearly 101,000 cases reported and more than 3,400 deaths from the virus worldwide, according to The World Health Organization. Korea and Italy have been among the most affected countries outside China, with more than 10,000 cases among them.
The Pentagon continues to monitor the situation. Bob Salesses, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, told reporters on Wednesday the Defense Department has a “very robust planning effort” to counter the virus' spread.
“I think it's important to recognize the Defense Department has been doing pandemic planning for the last 20 years,” Salesses said. “As you know, in the Defense Department, and we been planning for pandemics for a long time.”