The captain of a US aircraft carrier facing a coronavirus outbreak has been "relieved of command" after Navy leaders said he created a panic.
It comes after a leaked letter by Captain Brett Crozier called on the Navy to urgently stop the spread of the virus on board the ship.
More than 100 personnel on board USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19, but none are in hospital.
Acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said in a press conference that Captain Crozier had "demonstrated extremely poor judgement".
He said Captain Crozier had copied too many people into the memo and that he should have gone directly to his immediate commanders who were already helping.
Mr Modly said the memo was sent over "non-secure unclassified email" and "outside the chain of command".
The four-page letter, dated 30 March, was leaked to the public earlier this week and called for "decisive action" to be taken.
Mr Modly said Captain Crozier created a panic by suggesting 50 sailors could die.
“What it does, it undermines our efforts and the chain of command’s efforts to address this problem and creates a panic and creates the perception that the Navy is not on the job, the government is not on the job, and it’s just not true,” Mr Modly said.
He added: "Many in the public believe his letter was the only reason help from our larger Navy family was forthcoming, which was hardly the case.”
Nearly 3,000 sailors aboard the US aircraft carrier are due to be taken off the ship which is currently docked in Guam.
Cover image: USS Theodore Roosevelt (Picture: US Department of Defense).