Evacuated cruise passenger becomes Israel’s first coronavirus case

Jerusalem — One of the 11 Israelis who were flown home after being quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan has tested positive for the new virus that emerged in China late last year, the first case to be reported inside Israel, the Health Ministry said Friday.

The Israeli cruise ship passengers, who had all initially tested negative for the new coronavirus, arrived on a charter plane overnight. They were met by medics in protection suits and immediately taken to the Sheba Hospital near Tel Aviv, where they will be kept in quarantine.

Another four Israelis were hospitalized in Japan after testing positive for the virus.

The new coronavirus, which causes the illness recently named COVID-19, has infected more than 76,000 people in 27 countries and caused more than 2,200 deaths since it was first reported in China’s Hubei province in December.

The Diamond Princess ship docked at a Yokohama port has the most cases of the new virus outside of China, with 634 confirmed by late Thursday. Two former passengers have died.

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