נוסעים עוזבים את ה דיימונד פרינסס ספינה קורונה יפן נגיף וירוס
The passangers leaving the "Diamond Princess" cruise ship
Photo: Reuters
The passangers leaving the "Diamond Princess" cruise ship

Passengers of quarantined cruise ship to return to Israel on Friday

Extra precautionary measures are being taken to insure the health and safety of the entire Israeli population, 'We are as severe as we need to be' says Health Minister Yaakov Litzman

Itamar Eichner, Itay Blumenthal |
Published: 02.19.20 , 22:28
The Israelis quarantined on the "Diamond Princess" cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan for fear of the spread of the coronavirus, are expected to land at Ben Gurion airport on Friday.
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  • According to a Health Ministry statement on Wednesday, the plane carrying the passengers will land in a remote part of the airport, away from the populated terminals.
    נוסעים עוזבים את ה דיימונד פרינסס ספינה קורונה יפן נגיף וירוסנוסעים עוזבים את ה דיימונד פרינסס ספינה קורונה יפן נגיף וירוס
    The passangers leaving the "Diamond Princess" cruise ship
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The plane itself will be handled by a small crew equipped with all the needed precautions, while the passengers will be quickly transported by Magen David Adom to the Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer for a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
    Additionally, the passengers' baggage will be transported to a vehicle belonging to the Health Ministry as an added precaution.
    "Japanese authorities announced the Israelis on the cruise ship are clear to fly back to Israel, as they show no symptoms of carrying the coronavirus," said the Health Ministry.
    "The plane carrying the passengers will land in an area usually reserved for private jets, after refueling the same plane will fly eastwards immediately."
    עדנה והנרי בן שבת על האוטובוס בדרך למלון בטוקיו.עדנה והנרי בן שבת על האוטובוס בדרך למלון בטוקיו.
    Edna and Henry Ben-Shabat, two of the passangers on the ship
    In preparation for the arrival of the passengers, the National Security Council convened for a meeting attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman.
    Netanyahu was briefed about how the isolation area will be handled, and the way the passengers will be communicated with and treated by the staff attending them.
    "This needs to be treated as nothing less than a national emergency," said the head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat.
    "I am aware of the criticism we are facing for our harsh security measures," said Litzman in response to the public criticism regarding the handling of the crisis.
    "We are as severe as we need to be, we might ease up on these measures if we see it’s viable."
    Earlier Wednesday, Japanese authorities announced 79 additional confirmed virus cases among the passengers of the Diamond Princess, bringing the number of infected patients to 621, the highest in any place outside of China, which had 74,185 total confirmed cases.
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