The Health Ministry in Israel has stated that they are expecting nearly 240 citizens to return from their visits to the UAE with positive results of the coronavirus tests. All these Israelis are all set to come back home in the month of December alone. This was assessed by the relevant authority through the use of statistics of the month of November.
The data published also showed that in the previous month, 1,658 Israelis visited the UAE. Out of these, there were 9 who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In percentage terms, 0.44% of the citizens returning had contracted the virus.
However, the officials from the Health Ministry have predicted that these numbers will significantly go up in the month of December. This is due to the fact that a large number of Israeli tourists, nearly 15,000, went to the UAE to visit the Emirati Kingdom at the beginning of the month. 70,000 total citizens are expected to leave the country over the Hanukkah holiday.
This increase in the number of people flying to the UAE could also be because of a controversial decision taken by the Health Ministry last week. The relevant officials decided to keep the UAE’s tourism status green, irrespective of the pandemic. They stated that this had been done due to a relatively low morbidity rate being observed in the Kingdom, which is not likely to have a drastic effect. This justification made sense to a lot of people since the coronavirus morbidity rate in Israel is much higher.
Tourists traveling to the UAE are expected to present negative results to a coronavirus test, which must have been taken 72 hours prior to the flight. They are also required to take another test upon their arrival in a foreign country. However, people are worried that cramped flights may cause some Israelis to catch the disease while in flight. This will consequently lower the effectiveness of the tests to detect the virus so quickly after the person has been infected.
A Health Ministry source talked about this situation between the two countries. He stated that even though the UAE has strict coronavirus restrictions along with high testing numbers, one infected Israeli can easily infect numerous citizens once they get back.
Another source from the ministry also stated that Israelis flout coronavirus guidelines when they are abroad. He revealed that they travel in bigger groups and do not follow social distancing guidelines. He also pointed out that masks are also not worn by many. In addition, upon their return, citizens tend to violate isolation rules as well.
The Health Ministry has announced that they will be reevaluating this issue sometime in the next week. As of now, 19 states have been categorized as green by the relevant authorities. These are all those countries that have permitted Israelis to travel in and out without quarantining themselves. Some of these are Thailand, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Uruguay, Hong Kong, UAE, and China.