Israeli woman on virus-hit Diamond Princess tests positive upon return to Israel

Israeli woman on virus-hit Diamond Princess tests positive upon return to Israel

Diamond Princess cruise ship at Yokohama Port
Masked passengers look on from on board the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama Port, south of Tokyo, Japan, February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

JERUSALEM: An Israeli woman who was a passenger aboard a coronavirus-hit cruise ship tested positive upon return to her home country on Friday, Israel's health ministry said.

She was one of 11 Israeli passengers who were brought back to Israel after being aboard the cruise liner Diamond Princess, carrying 3,700 people, which was quarantined off Yokohama since arriving on Feb 3.

The woman, an adult, was being held in quarantine in the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv, in central Israel, health officials said.

"In the course of testing conducted by the Health Ministry’s central laboratory, one of the passengers who returned from the ship in Japan was found to be positive," the Israeli health ministry said in a statement on Friday.

"In the course of testing conducted by the Health Ministry’s central laboratory, one of the passengers who returned from the ship in Japan was found to be positive," the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The 10 other returning passengers had tested negative, it said.

A spokeswoman for Sheba Medical Center said later that "the infected woman is in very good condition, without any symptoms (such as fever or coughing)".

READ: Quarantine nightmare still not over for left-behind Diamond Princess cruise ship crew

Nadav Matzner, deputy spokesman for Israel's Magen David Adom ambulance service, earlier said that the 11 Israelis had been flown back from Japan to Israel on a small private aircraft, arriving at Ben Gurion Airport around 4am.

"They were landed in the far end of the runway so they won't be able to touch anything," Matzner said.

Speaking before the ministry confirmed that one had tested positive, Matzner said that the passengers appeared to be healthy. "We spoke to them, they have no fever, any other symptoms," he said.

Video footage released by the ambulance service and hospital showed the passengers walking off the jet wearing masks and waving to the assembled greeting party, who wore masks and protective clothing.

READ: Five Singaporeans on Japan cruise ship allowed to disembark: MFA

They were then shown boarding a Magen David Adom minibus - the driver and assistants also wearing protective clothing - and being driven to Sheba Medical Center where a quarantine facility had been set up with green and white tents erected in an arrivals area.

More than 600 people aboard the cruise liner have been infected with the virus. Two of them - both Japanese in their 80s - died on Thursday.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a low-level travel advisory for Japan. In a bid to contain the virus, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said it would either cancel or postpone major indoor events it has sponsored for the next three weeks.

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Source: Reuters/ec

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