Israel said reluctant to declare UAE a virus hotspot amid burgeoning ties

The Foreign Ministry has decided the United Arab Emirates won’t be designated a “red” or highly infected country, a step that would have forced returning Israeli tourists to enter quarantine, according to the Walla news site.

The ministry decision comes amid fears that such a designation would cause a diplomatic rift with the Gulf country, which only recently forged ties with Israel, according to the report.

The Foreign Ministry decision overrides a Health Ministry request to declare the UAE a “red” country, Walla reports.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein discussed the issue earlier today and agreed the designation would only be granted with the Foreign Ministry’s approval, given the sensitive diplomatic situation.

The Foreign Ministry denies the report, saying the final decision on the designation rests with the Health Ministry.

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