Thousands of passengers, including 12 Israelis, began disembarking a cruise ship off Japan Wednesday, following a two week quarantine to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the death toll in China topped 2,000.
The Japanese authorities said overnight Tuesday that passengers who had shared a cabin with an infected person will not disembark the ship just yet.
– LISTEN: The only way Bibi can stay out of jail
LISTEN: The only way Bibi can stay out of jailHaaretz Weekly Ep. 62
The Diamond Princess, owned by Carnival Corp, has been quarantined since arriving in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, on February 3. The quarantine was imposed after a man who disembarked at the ship's previous stop in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.
Twelve out of the 15 Israeli nationals aboard the ship will return to Israel on a charter plane, and are expected to arrive Thursday. Upon their arrival they will undergo another two week quarantine. They will also undergo further testing at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer hospital in Ramat Gan.
Israel's foreign and health ministries said in a joint statement on Wednesday that "two of the Israeli passengers have disembarked the ship, and the others are expected to disembark today or tomorrow."
An Israeli flag hangs inside a cabin of the Diamond Princess, at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan February 10, 2020. KIM KYUNG-HOON/REUTERS
The Israeli Embassy in Tokyo in cooperation with the Israeli Health Ministry officials have released guidelines regarding the conduct of the Israeli passengers on their leaving the ship and returning to Israel.
The Israeli passengers are expected to leave the ship on Thursday at 6 P.M. (Japan time) at the latest, and will fly back to Israel, where they will undergo medical tests and be placed in quarantine for 14 days in Sheba.