Fourth Israeli diagnosed with coronavirus on stranded cruise ship

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - An Israeli was diagnosed with coronavirus COVID-19 on Thursday - the fourth citizen onboard a cruise ship, quarantined for two weeks in a Japanese port, to be reported to have contracted the disease.

Eleven other Israelis were on board but did not catch the virus, and took a special chartered flight to return, where they are expected to be taken to Sheba Medical Centre at Tel Hashomer hospital. They will be quarantined for an additional two weeks.

The four other Israelis who have contracted the virus on board the civilian vessel, called the Diamond Princess will be treated in Japan.

This comes as two elderly passengers who had been taken off the ship later died, according to Japan's Health Ministry, becoming the first fatalities from the cruise ship.

The ministry also announced 13 more cases on the ship, bringing the total to 634, by far the largest number in one location outside mainland China.

The ministry also announced Thursday that two more government officials had became infected while providing clerical work on the ship to help in the quarantine effort.

Four other officials - a quarantine official, a paramedic who carried an infected passenger, a health ministry worker and an emergency relief medical expert - have also been sickened.

Creeping to the Middle East

A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 75,000 people globally, and deaths are emerging in parts of the Middle East.

Click to enlarge [Getty]

The UAE reported nine cases of the virus; Egypt has reported one case, and Iran, five cases, with two deaths.

This comes as three patients in Iran tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a health ministry spokesman revealed.

"Two people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Qom and one person in Arak, bringing the total of confirmed cases to five in Iran," Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a tweet.

The new cases come a day after the health ministry announced two people had died from the COVID-19 virus in the city of Qom, just hours after their cases were publicly confirmed.

The pair were reportedly elderly and had pre-existing immunity problems.

Read More: Could coronavirus impact oil markets?

The deaths marked the first coronavirus fatalities in the Middle East and only the seventh and eighth outside China where the outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people.

"Following the recent cases of chronic respiratory diseases in Qom, two of the patients tested positive in preliminary tests," Jahanpur said on Wednesday.

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