SPAIN has had to withdraw 22 soldiers that were part of the Atalanta operation, as the Rear Admiral tested positive for coronavirus.

Operation Atalanta is an EU operation that combats piracy in the Indian Ocean.

But now the 22 troops have had to be repatriated from their base in Djibouti.

The Spanish Rear Admiral was due to take over from the Portuguese Commodore at the head of the EU General Staff on the Spanish ship Numancia.

The Real Admiral hasn’t reported to have had any symptoms, but the 22 soldiers will return home in an air force plane.

Spain has been a part of Atalanta since its launch in 2008, with a total of 296 troops, a ship and a patrol plane.

According to the Defence General, command of the operation will be carried out from its strategic operational headquarters at the Rota Naval base in Cadiz.

The virus is creating problems for the 2,500 servicemen stationed abroad, in 19 separate countries, with many of them restricting flights to Spain.

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