French Navy helicopter carrier to serve as temporary hospital ship for coronavirus patients

Tonnerre in 2017 (Photo: US Marine Corps/Staff Sergeant Vitaliy Rusavskiy)

The French Navy will deploy the Mistral-class amphibious helicopter carrier Tonnerre to the waters off Corsica to aid in the repatriation of French citizens who have contracted the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the country’s armed forces minister confirmed on Sunday, March 22.

The vessel will also serve as a temporary hospital ship for the 12 French citizens who had tested positive for the virus while in Corsica.

Corsican authorities said the deployment of Tonnerre will help ease the burden on hospitals on the island that have become overwhelmed with patients.

The repatriated patients will then be brought to hospitals throughout the French Riviera with facilities better suited for treatment.

As with other Mistral-class ships, Tonnerre is designated a NATO Role 3 medical facility capable of accommodating up to 119 hospital beds, intensive care facilities, two operating rooms, and an X-ray room among others.

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