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Israel to host Miss Universe contest despite Omicron, minister says

  • >> Reuters
    Published: 2021-11-28 17:14:23 BdST

The reigning Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, poses for a photo in front of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site and the Dome of the Rock, located on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City as part of the preparation for Israel hosting Miss Universe 2021 later this year, Nov 17, 2021. REUTERS

Israel will host the Miss Universe beauty pageant in the Red Sea resort of Eilat on Dec 12 despite imposing travel restrictions to try to stave off the Omicron coronavirus variant, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said on Sunday.

On Saturday Israel announced that it was banning foreigners from entering the country, but Razvozov on Sunday told reporters that participants in the Miss Universe pageant would be granted waivers while possibly undergoing PCR testing every 48 hours and other precautionary measures.

"This is an event that will be broadcast in 174 countries, a very important event, an event that Eilat, too, is very much in need of," he said before Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting.

"We will know how to manage this event. So, by using the waivers committee, we will have events like this, to which the country already committed itself and cannot cancel."

In televised remarks at the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israel needs "to clamp down" on its borders to keep the country "open internallly".

Israel has confirmed one case of infection from the Omicron coronavirus variant.