| 18 May 2024, Saturday |

Person on Israeli PM’s flight from UAE tests positive for COVID-19

The prime minister’s office announced Tuesday that a passenger on Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s aircraft back from the United Arab Emirates tested positive for COVID-19.

Bennett returned to Israel on Monday after a historic two-day visit to the Gulf Arab state, the first by an Israeli leader to the country that has just repaired relations with Israel.

On Tuesday, he was placed in a three-day quarantine by the Health Ministry, which requires all returning passengers, including those who have been vaccinated, to self-isolate. According to the prime minister’s office, he was scheduled to take a coronavirus test on Wednesday, in accordance with health laws, and his quarantine would be lifted if the result came back negative.

Bennett’s office did not reveal the identity of the person who tested positive.

Bennett was supposed to be joined on the visit by a phalanx of Israeli and international media, as well as a sizable entourage. However, a day before his departure, media were informed that they would not be attending due to worries about omicron, a novel coronavirus type, and that Bennett’s entourage would be reduced.

Since the emergence of the omicron strain, Israel has closed its borders to international passengers and imposed restrictions on Israelis travelling abroad. It has prohibited travel to all Sub-Saharan African nations and set self-quarantine measures for all returning tourists.

Bennett’s visit to the UAE this week coincided with nuclear discussions between world powers and Iran’s regional archrival over its shattered nuclear pact.

The tour also solidified the normalization agreement struck by Israel and the UAE under the Abraham Accords, which were negotiated by the US and saw similar agreements inked by Israel and Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.

  • Associated Press