TEL AVIV: The Miss Universe beauty pageant on December 12 will go on despite the host, Israel, imposing travel restrictions to try to stave off the Omicron coronavirus variant, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said on Sunday.
On Saturday, Israel announced it would ban foreigners from entering, lengthen quarantines for citizens and residents returning from abroad and reinstate controversial cellphone surveillance designed to track infections.
However, Razvozov on Sunday said that Miss Universe participants 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 told reporters.
Briefing a parliamentary committee, senior health ministry official Sharon Alroy-Preis said Israel was putting together a safety plan for Miss Universe and could limit admission to the pageant from countries deemed to be high-risk. Israel has confirmed one Omicron case, she said, in a female tourist from Malawi.