Israel Says Cruise Passenger Flown Home From Japan Has Virus

February 21, 2020 Updated: February 21, 2020
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One of the 11 Israelis who were flown home after being quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan has tested positive for the new virus that emerged in China late last year, the first case to be reported inside Israel, officials said on Feb. 21.

The Israeli cruise ship passengers, who had all initially tested negative for the new coronavirus, arrived on a charter plane overnight. They were met by medics in protection suits and immediately taken to the Sheba Hospital near Tel Aviv, where they will be kept in quarantine.

Epoch Times Photo
Buses carrying passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leave a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo on Feb. 17, 2020. (Jae C. Hong/AP Photo)

Dr. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the infectious disease unit at the hospital, said all 11 were tested again upon arrival. She said a woman tested positive as a carrier of the virus but is “totally healthy” and is not exhibiting any symptoms.

“She was in a lot of stress,” Regev-Yochay said. “Obviously the whole situation is not easy.”

Another four Israelis were hospitalized in Japan after testing positive for the virus. Regev-Yochay said they are not showing any symptoms.

The new coronavirus, which causes the illness recently named COVID-19, has infected tens of thousands of people in 27 countries since it was first reported in China’s Hubei province in December.

South Korea
A South Korean soldier (R) wearing a face mask looks at train departure timetable at a railway station in the southeastern city of Daegu, South Korea, on Feb. 21, 2020. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Diamond Princess ship docked at a Yokohama port has the most cases of the new virus outside of China, with 634 confirmed by late Thursday. Two former passengers have died.

Dozens of foreign passengers were flown back to their home countries on flights chartered by their governments.

Israel has canceled all flights to and from China, and is requiring Israelis returning from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore or Thailand to be quarantined at home for two weeks.