Ministry of Health Director General Chezy Levy signed an order Friday that effectively closes the travel gap to Dubai, ordering the return of passengers from all countries into mandatory 14-day quarantine, Channel 12 reported.
Tens of thousands of Israelis have come to Dubai in the past few weeks, taking advantage of the fact that the UAE, along with the Seychelles and Rwanda, have been declared “green countries” in terms of coronavirus restrictions.
An estimated 70,000 Israelis were expected in Dubai over the Hanukkah holiday, with posts on social media showing a lot of partying and mixing in ways that are prohibited in Israel under current lockdown restrictions.
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The new measure will take effect on December 26, the report said, noting that some cabinet members had not been notified of the move, and could still try to oppose the ruling. Returns from all countries on and after that date must enter quarantine, the report said.
The UAE has been a “green” destination since August, with many believing that the decision was largely political after signing the treaty treaty between the two countries.
It also meant that government agencies who traveled there often did not need quarantine on their return.
The liberation of Dubai saw a gathering at airports and raised concerns that travelers could return Israeli virus numbers.
More than 50,000 Israelis have visited the United Arab Emirates since the recent settlement agreement between Israel and the UAE, according to a report on Monday.
That figure comes after just weeks of open trade missions between the countries, which agreed to open the diplomatic and tourism floods in a historic agreement signed in September.
There are direct, regular flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai, and both countries have designated “green zones,” meaning that there is no need for quarantine for passengers on arrival or return.
Among the visitors was Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who visited Dubai on Thursday for the first time ever with a rabbi leader seated to an Arab country, his office said.
The report also said that the Jewish community center in Dubai is increasing its staff from five to “about 30” employees, and that nearly 150 restaurants in the UAE have started serving food kosher.
JTA contributed to this report