UAE will not have 'red country' status

The Health Ministry had earlier decided to designate the UAE "red", due to large gatherings of Israelis in Dubai in recent weeks • some 70,000 plan to be there for Hanukkah

Flydubai flight to Israel from the UAE (photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/POOL)
Flydubai flight to Israel from the UAE
(photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/POOL)
The Foreign Ministry has vetoed turning the United Arab Emirates into a “red country,” which would have meant arrivals to Israel having to enter quarantine, the ministry confirmed on Wednesday.
The Health Ministry had decided to designate the UAE “red” earlier in the day, due to the large gatherings of Israelis in Dubai in recent weeks, but Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi asked Health Minister Yuli Edelstein to consult with the Foreign Ministry before any future decisions are made about the UAE.
Israel established diplomatic relations with the Emirates in August, kicking off the Abraham Accords, which Bahrain joined. In October, Sudan formally agreed to normalize ties with Israel.
However, the Health Ministry later clarified that it met on Wednesday to review the status of all countries and that the UAE was not labeled red based on its morbidity rate.
“The country is considered green, and therefore returnees will not need to enter isolation,” the ministry said in a statement. “The Health Ministry calls on all those visiting the UAE to maintain social distance and wear a mask.”
The ministry will reevaluate the situation in the country in two weeks to determine if the UAE’s status should change.
Currently, there are 19 green states – states to which Israelis can travel and return without entering quarantine. These include: South Korea, Fiji, Japan, Thailand, Rwanda, Cuba, Finland, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Uruguay, Seychelles, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, China, Bahrain, Vietnam and the UAE.
Thousands of Israelis have traveled to the Gulf state, with tens of thousands more booking vacations. An estimated 70,000 Israelis plan to be in the Emirates during Hanukkah.
Tourists entering the UAE must present a negative coronavirus test from the previous 72 hours and take another test upon arrival.
The Emirates, which has a population similar in size to that of Israel, conducted about 150,000 coronavirus tests on Tuesday and found 1,313 new cases – less than 1%.
Israel conducted about 68,500 tests and found 1,719 new cases (2.5%) on the same day.
Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman contributed to this report.