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UAE said angered by Israel health official blaming virus surge on Dubai travel

The United Arab Emirates has expressed its frustration with Israel after a top health official blamed a sharp rise in coronavirus cases on Israelis returning from Dubai, according to Hebrew media reports.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office apologized for Sharon Alroy-Preis’ comments after being contacted by Emirati officials, the reports by the Walla and Ynet news sites say.

Alroy-Preis, head of the Health Ministry’s public health department, is said to have told hospital chiefs that “In two weeks of peace [with the UAE] more people died than in 70 years of war.” Israel and the UAE were never at war, and Channel 13 notes her comment may have been made half-jokingly. The network said that from the beginning of December, 906 Israelis who returned from the UAE were diagnosed with coronavirus, leading to a total of 4,050 cases, including many cases of the more infectious UK variant.

A passenger wearing a mask due to the coronavirus pandemic passes through a temperature screening at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 10, 2020 (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)
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