World Jewish News
Israel readies for return of 11 ‘coronavirus cruise’ travelers
The country is preparing for the pre-dawn Friday arrival of 11 Israelis who have been quarantined on board the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan since February 3.
The 11 include two who disembarked from the ship Wednesday after a final examination and nine who are expected to be released Thursday before making their way back to Ben-Gurion Airport.
“It’s like the exodus from Egypt,” one Israeli said in a self-recorded video that was later disseminated to the press.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat and a handful of other high-ranking leaders toured the unique isolation facility that has been established at Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer.
The Israelis, whose evacuation from Yokohama was arranged through major efforts by the Health Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, will be taken directly from the airport to the hospital in Magen David Adom ambulances. They will remain under quarantine there for an additional 14 days.
The Health Ministry, Sheba, MDA and the Airport Authority sent a message to the media Wednesday evening explaining that the 14-seat private jet would land in the private jet terminal and that only a limited number of airport staff would attend to the aircraft. The statement said that the plane would return to Asia immediately after refueling.
The Sheba facility meets strict criteria for isolation that ensure maximum protection of the health of those in the facility, the medical teams and the Israeli public. Remote treatment will be provided to those in isolation using advanced technologies, including the hospital’s unique telemedicine program.
By MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN