(Updated)

Israel will host Miss Universe contest as scheduled despite Omicron, minister says

The reigning Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, poses for a photo on Nov 17, 2021, in front of the Western Wall — Judaism's holiest prayer site, and the Dome of the Rock, located on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, as part of the preparation for Israel hosting Miss Universe 2021 later this year (Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters filepix)

The reigning Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, poses for a photo on Nov 17, 2021, in front of the Western Wall — Judaism's holiest prayer site, and the Dome of the Rock, located on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, as part of the preparation for Israel hosting Miss Universe 2021 later this year (Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters filepix)

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JERUSALEM (Nov 28): Israel will host the Miss Universe beauty pageant on Dec 12, despite imposing travel restrictions in a bid to stave off the Omicron strain of the coronavirus, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said on Sunday.

He said participants in the contest, to be held in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, will be granted waivers from the curbs while possibly being subject to PCR testing every 48 hours and other precautionary measures.

Israel announced on Saturday that it was banning the entry of foreigners into the country.

"This is an event that will be broadcast in 174 countries, a very important event, a event that Eilat, too, is very much in need of," Razvozov told reporters.

"We will know how to manage this event. So, by using the waivers committee, we will have events like this, to which the country already committed itself and which we cannot cancel."