About 3,700 people – 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew members – aboard the Japanese cruise ship “Diamond Princess” anchored off Yokohama port near Tokyo are being quarantined on the ship for two weeks, including 15 – 17 Israelis, after ten passengers were found to be infected with the coronavirus.
The ten passengers, covered in white sheets to hide their identity, were transferred by Japanese health workers from the cruise ship to a Japanese coast guard boat which took them to a dock, where they were evacuated to a hospital by ambulances.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday: “This information is based, among other things, on a briefing held by the Japanese Foreign Ministry for foreign representatives in Tokyo and received from Israeli consul Revital Ben-Naim. The ship has about 3700 passengers, and according to the Japanese officials, there are between 15 – 17 passengers with Israeli passports but the lists have not yet been verified. Ten passengers were found to have contracted the coronavirus and were taken off the ship and transferred to hospitals in Japan. The rest of the passengers will remain in isolation on the ship for about 14 days.”
“A team of Japanese authorities is on the ship and is meeting with each of the passengers to provide food, medicine and any other necessary treatment,” the Foreign Ministry continued. “So far, samples from another 200 passengers have been taken and they are waiting for the results. If more patients are discovered with the disease, they will be transferred to a hospital in Japan. We are in contact with the authorities and families and are closely following all developments. Once again, Israelis are not among those suspected of contracting the virus.”
One Israeli passenger on the ship told Channel 12 News: “We’re in isolation and must stay in our rooms, which is very stressful. We can’t even go out to the hallways.”
— だぁ(On board the Diamond Princess / 乗船中) (@daxa_tw) February 4, 2020
Another Israeli passenger told Ynet that although they are being provided with food and drink they feel helpless due to the lack of information, adding that helicopters are currently circling above the ship.
The saga began when an 80-year-old man from Hong Kong who had joined the two-week cruise for a few days tested positive for the coronavirus after disembarking and returning to Hong Kong on January 25.
The ten people infected with the virus, including one American, two Australians, three each from Japan and Hong Kong, and a Filipino crew member, are not having severe symptoms.
The passengers and crew aboard the cruise ships come from a total of 56 countries. According to the United States Embassy, there are 438 American citizens aboard the Diamond Princess. The Filipino Department of Foreign Affairs stated that 538 Filipinos are on board the Diamond Princess. Carnival Corp. said that about half the passengers are Japanese.
British passenger David Arbel has already been aboard the Diamond Princess for more than two weeks but seems to be maintaining high spirits, posting updates on social media, although he is an insulin-dependent diabetic and is worried about maintaining his regular meal schedule since he is dependent on workers bringing meals to his room.
An eyewitness account from passenger David Abel who is quarantined for 2 weeks on board the Carnival Diamond Princess ship, off the coast of Yokohama near Tokyo, after ten passengers test positive for coronavirus. | https://t.co/RhLKQfYILh pic.twitter.com/G9suV1qO1p
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 5, 2020
Carnival Corp. announced that passengers trapped on the Diamond Princess would receive a full refund and a future cruise credit.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)