Israelis held in Japan with virus taught their doctor Hebrew
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Israelis held in Japan with virus taught their doctor Hebrew

‘I’m on your side. I hope that you’ll be okay soon. I want to help you,’ doctor wrote in Hebrew-language letter to Israeli couple

Officials in protective suits prepare near the cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored at Yokohama Port in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, February 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Officials in protective suits prepare near the cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored at Yokohama Port in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, February 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

An Israeli couple that was hospitalized in Japan after testing positive for the coronavirus used their time in quarantine to learn some Japanese — and teach Hebrew to the doctor treating them.

Ruhale and Oded Ofarim were among the 15 Israelis on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off Japan after a Chinese passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.

Of the over 3,700 people originally on board the ship, there have been 705 cases of the virus, including six Israeli patients.

According to a Channel 12 news report Friday, the Japanese doctor treating the Ofarims left them a letter of support in Hebrew.

“I’m on your side. I hope that you’ll be okay soon. I want to help you,” the letter said. “I hope you’ll improve soon. Let’s work hard together.”

The report did not name the doctor, but said his letter “warmed their hearts.”

An officer stands next to the Diamond Princess cruise ship on February 16, 2020, with an Israeli flag visible through a window of the ship. (Behrouz MEHRI / AFP)

Of the four Israelis diagnosed with the virus while on the cruise ship, only one remains in quarantine in Japan. One of the Israelis was diagnosed as a carrier of the pathogen Friday, hours after landing in the country on a commercial flight after being released from a Japanese hospital.

It was not immediately clear why the man had been released while still carrying the virus. Media reports said he had been cleared by officials there as healthy.

He was one of four Israelis to test positive for the virus since Thursday evening, bringing the number of sick Israelis to seven.

The man returned to Israel on two Turkish Airlines flights via Istanbul. The Health Ministry instructed all passengers on the man’s flight that landed in Tel Aviv Friday morning, TK784, to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Two of 11 other Israelis who were on board the ship were diagnosed with the virus after returning to Israel and being put in quarantine as a safety measure.

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