Miss Universe hopeful tests positive for Covid-19 in Israel

Contestant tested positive upon arrival in the country and was taken to a government-run isolation hotel


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Miss Universe contestants arrive at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport. – AFP
Miss Universe contestants arrive at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport. – AFP

Published: Mon 29 Nov 2021, 9:50 PM

Organisers of the Miss Universe pageant said Monday that a contestant tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Israel, which is pressing ahead with plans to host the pageant despite closing its borders in the face of a newly detected variant.

They did not identify the contestant, and it was unclear if she had the Omicron strain, which has raised alarm worldwide and was detected in a traveller returning to Israel last week.

The Miss Universe Organisation said most of the 80 contestants have arrived in Israel and that the event will be held as planned on Dec. 12 in the southern city of Eilat with strict coronavirus protocols. The contestants will compete in national costumes, evening gowns and swimwear, and will answer a series of interview questions.

Israel closed its borders to all foreign travellers over the weekend, one of several measures taken to prevent the spread of the new variant after at least one case was detected, in a vaccinated traveller returning from Malawi. The variant was first identified in South Africa but cases have since been detected in several European countries as well as Hong Kong and Australia.

The organizers said the contestant tested positive upon arrival in Israel and was taken to a government-run isolation hotel. She was fully vaccinated and had been tested prior to departure, they said.

Israel had hoped the pageant would help draw tourists and project an image of Israel as a safe destination during the pandemic.

Andrea Meza, the current Miss Universe, was crowned in May, during a Covid-delayed ceremony in Florida, where contestants accessorised their sparkling gowns with face masks. She hands over the crown in Eilat on Dec. 12.

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