Miss Universe contestant tests positive for Covid-19

Miss Universe contestant tests positive for Covid-19
2 min read
29 November, 2021
A Miss Universe contestant has tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Israel.
Israeli authorities said they will go ahead with holding the Miss Universe pageant [source: Getty]

Organisers of next month's controversial Miss Universe pageant say one of the contestants has tested positive for Covid-19.

It was not immediately clear if she had tested positive for the newly detected omicron variant.

Israeli authorities said they will go ahead with holding the pageant in the southern city of Eilat in December despite the rapidly spreading new variant and calls for international boycott over human rights violations against Palestinians.

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The Miss Universe Organization, which is organising the pageant, did not identify the contestant who tested positive or her nationality. It said on Monday that she tested positive upon arrival in Israel and was taken to a government-run isolation hotel.

It said she was fully vaccinated and tested prior to departure.

The organisers said most of the 80 contestants have arrived in Israel amid pressure on contestants to drop out in solidarity with Palestinians.

Activists launched a Twitter campaign under the hashtags #BoycottMissUniverse, #MissUniverse2021 and #theresnobeautyinapartheid. Candidates from Indonesia and Malaysia withdrew following the calls to boycott.

One of the most prominent voices calling for a boycott was that of Inkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, the grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

"Israel is an Apartheid State and we will continue to mobilise all freedom loving people of the world to boycott, divest and pass sanctions against the brutal apartheid regime," Mandela said in a statement to Mvezo Komkhulu.

"We must persist in isolating Apartheid Israel in the same way that we isolated Apartheid South Africa," he added.