According to a spokesperson for Magen David Adom, approximately 14.3% of the pilgrims coming back to Israel from Uman have tested positive for the coronavirus. As per MDA, this was around 2,000 people who were returning to Israel from the Ukrainian city. They had tested positive in the rapid testing facilities established in Uman as well as the Kiev airport terminal. The Population and Immigration Authority disclosed that nearly 25,000 Israelis had chosen to travel to Uman for celebrating the holiday of Rosh Hashanah by visiting the grave of the founder of the Breslov Hassidic group. Around 12,000 of these people were expected to return to the country on Thursday.
The Population Authority stated that those who had tested positive for COVID-19 were infected in Ukraine and also added that they had received information about several dozen of these infected pilgrims using fraudulent documentation for allegedly boarding flights to Israel. The border security personnel detained about sixteen of these people upon their arrival in the country and they were then transferred to police custody. The Population Authority disclosed that more of these people were expected to arrive in the country on Thursday night.
MDA stated that at the request of the Health and Foreign Ministries and the Prime Minister’s Office, they had sent a team of over a hundred paramedics and medics to Uman. They also said that they were also cooperating with the Israeli embassy and the Ukrainian Red Cross since Wednesday night, immediately after Rosh Hashanah came to an end. The organization said that travelers who undertook a rapid test had to be provided a certificate from the MDA, which they were required to bring on their return flight. Nachman Ash, the Health Ministry Director-General, said that it was still early to decide the performance of the Uman outline for safe travel.
Ash said that as per reports, it wasn’t a small number of people who had been infected and tested positive Uman, and more were expected to do the same in Israel as well. He added that the real test was deciding who needed to be isolated and everyone testing positive would obviously have to quarantine. The director-general called on the people returning from Uman to follow the guidelines. He said that they were doing everything possible for enforcing the rules, but people should also try to adhere to the guidelines.
Prof. Salman Zarka, the coronavirus commissioner in Israel, had also traveled to Uman earlier this week for confirming that the agreed-upon outline would be followed. He was questioned about why he was visiting the site and he added that he would go everywhere Israelis were for protecting their health. In other news, the number of coronavirus cases continues to decline in the country. The ‘R’, which represents the number of people a patient infects had first declined to 0.95 and has now reduced further to 0.8. This is certainly good news for Israel, which had experienced a surge in cases despite vaccinating a greater portion of its population.