Photo Credit: Serge Bystro /
Abu Dhabi's Etihad Towers in the UAE

Beginning at 1:00 am Monday (late Sunday night) travelers returning to Israel from the United Arab Emirates will be required to quarantine at state-run “COVID-19 Hotels” at government expense, the Health Ministry announced.

There was no advance notice given to the travelers.


The decision was made after it was discovered that several travelers who returned from Dubai were infected with the South African variant of COVID-19, which is considerably more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The Health Ministry said it is mulling the possibility of transferring all passengers from the African continent, as well as those from Central and South America, in addition to those arriving from large parts of the Far East, to quarantine for a period of 10 to 14 days at the state-run hotels.

Coronavirus Commissioner Professor Nachman Ash said on Sunday, however, that anyone who has received both required doses of the coronavirus vaccine will not be required to self-isolate, starting from a week following the date of the injection of the second dose.

The Health Ministry said earlier in the day that according to the ministry’s data, 602 coronavirus patients have died since the start of January. Out of nearly 70,000 tests for the virus that were carried out on Saturday, 5,000 new infections were diagnosed, resulting in a positivity / contagion rate of 7.2 percent.

On Sunday morning, the ministry told journalists that 1,155 patients were listed in serious and/or critical condition. The death toll from the virus has reached 3,956, since the start of the pandemic.

The good news is that some 2.28 million Israelis have been vaccinated so far; 228,000 of those have already received the second vaccine injection.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.