Hope for Israelis on Coronavirus-stricken ship

Insurance companies finance private jet to bring Israelis on quarantined ship back to Israel.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

"ספינת הקורונה" Diamond Princess
"ספינת הקורונה" Diamond Princess
צילום: REUTERS

PassportCard's overseas travel insurance company leased a private jet that includes 14 seats co-financed by the Harel, Clal and Migdal insurances companies, which will return Israelis from the ship quarantined due to the Coronavirus off the coast of Japan.

The plane currently staying on the ground in Bangkok is expected to depart with a foreign air crew on Wednesday from Thailand to Japan, an average flight of 3-4 hours. The plane is expected to arrive in Tokyo as early as late tonight.

On Thursday, the plane is expected to take off for a direct flight, with the 12 Israelis who are still on board the ship, in accordance with medical examinations conducted and in accordance with instructions of the Health Ministry and Foreign Ministry. All passengers will be taken by the Ministry of Health upon their return to Israel to another quarantined location determined by the Ministry.

Following the insurance companies' announcement yesterday about the leasing the Turkish aircraft, the relevant officials put forward alternatives that would meet all the needs for the rescue flight. The geographical location of the Thai aircraft as well as its size was found to be more suited to the mission of returning the Israeli passengers on the "Diamond Princess" cruise ship to Israel than the Rurkish aircraft.

Joel Amir, CEO of PassportCard stated: "We are doing our utmost and working on several channels to bring the Israelis back to Israel as soon as possible. The Thai aircraft is operational and will allow us to bring passengers to the country sooner. We are awaiting the final approval of all appointed officials."

Earlier Monday, Itamar Grotto, the deputy director-general of Israel’s health ministry, said that he is working to win the release of 12 of the 15 Israeli passengers from the Diamond Princess.

The three remaining Israeli passengers, who have been diagnosed with coronavirus and are being treated in a Japanese hospital, would remain in Japan for the time being.

Of the roughly 3,700 people onboard the Diamond Princess, 454 have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Israel’s continuing efforts to secure the release of its citizens comes after more than 300 American citizens, including 14 infected with the coronavirus, were allowed to return to the US late Sunday night.