One of the Israeli passengers aboard the Japanese cruise ship “Diamond Princess” may have contracted the coronavirus, Israel’s Foreign Ministry reported on Monday
The Israeli woman is suffering from flu-like symptoms, including fever, and is currently waiting for the results of a test for the dreaded virus.
135 passengers out of 3,600 aboard the ship, which is anchored off Yokohama port near Tokyo have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. After a Hong Kong man who had joined the cruise for a few days was diagnosed with the virus after disembarking in Hong Kong last week, the ship was quarantined for two weeks. Any passengers found to have been infected with the coronavirus are evacuated to local hospitals by Japanese health officials.
There are about 15 Israelis on the ship who, along with the other passengers, are forced to stay in their rooms for the duration of the quarantine.
The effect of the coronavirus is not just health-related; it is affecting the bottom line of businesses in Israel as well. As the busy Pesach season approaches, many business owners who rely on stock from China are feeling the pressure.
However, last week, Gil Bufman, the chief economist at Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., Israel’s second-largest bank by market capital, told the Times of Israel that the main business sectors that will be impacted by the coronavirus are tourism and construction. Many construction workers are from China and Chinese tourists in Israel make up about 3.5% of tourists from around the world who visit Israel.
The fear of the coronavirus is affecting the bottom line of Chinese restaurants in Israel as well. One manager of a Chinese restaurant in Tel Aviv said that his restaurant has had a 60-70% decline in customers over the last two weeks due to fear of the coronavirus. He also complained that some people are treating him unkindly due to prejudice against Chinese people that has emerged as a result of the coronavirus, a complaint that unfortunately has been reported by many Chinese people around the world. He said that one customer even called up and asked him if he served “corona soup.”
There are hundreds of Chinese students the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and some of them have reported that they have been targeted in ethnic slurs.