Israeli who returned from coronavirus cruise ship tests positive

Sheba doctor: ‘On our end, it is not a big surprise’

Coronavirus quarantine ward at Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Coronavirus quarantine ward at Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan
One of the 11 Israelis aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship who was allowed to disembark in Yokohama port and evacuated to Israel was diagnosed with coronavirus upon her return to the country on Friday. All 11 passengers are in a 14-day quarantine at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan.
Dr. Gili Regev Yochay, head of Sheba Medical Centers Infectious Diseases unit, said the woman is asymptomatic, meaning she is a carrier of Covid-2019 but is not feeling sick. Yochay stressed that the patient tested negative before boarding the 14-seat private jet last week, which brought 11 Israelis of the 15 who had been quarantined on the cruise ship since February 3 back to Israel.
“She was in a lot of stress,” upon hearing her diagnosis, Yochay said, “but we made a big effort to calm her and her family down.”
The passenger is the girlfriend of one of the four passengers diagnosed with coronavirus before leaving Japan.
“On our end, it is not a big surprise,” Yochay continued. “We were ready for this.”
Sheba set up an isolation unit some two km from the main facility ahead of the Israelis’ arrival and is using telemedicine and strict precautions to care for the patients.
“We brought them [back to Israel] because they are Israeli citizens and this is the place they should be,” Yochay told the press over the weekend. “We are proud” to host them at Sheba. “Every day, more and more people got ill [on the ship], and I think it is a national mission to bring these people back.”
A spokesperson for the families told media Saturday night that the families enjoyed a relaxing Shabbat and were working on transitioning from a situation of intense stress to a more relaxing one.
“Some people felt slightly unwell as the pressure of the last two weeks decreased,” the spokesperson said.
Yochay noted that the hospital is frequently checking people for the virus. The Israelis will remain in quarantine at Sheba for 14 days.
In addition, she said the hospital is in touch with the Israeli physician who is caring for the four Israelis who contracted Covid-19 aboard the ship and are being treated in a military hospital in Japan. They, too, are asymptomatic, she said.
Similarly, two Australians who were related from the same Diamond Princess ship were found to be sick upon return to their country, as well. While in Japan, they tested negative.