Health official: Test Maccabiah athletes for flu


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Health Ministry is considering requiring all Maccabiah Games participants to be tested for swine flu.

Any of the thousands of athletes from around the world who test positive for the virus would be prevented from entering the country, Deputy Health Minister Ya’akov Litzman suggested Sunday.

"Some 5,000 athletes are expected to arrive from all over the world. I want us to test all of them before they land in Israel," he said. "I want to prevent a situation in which 5,000 additional people arrive and the disease spreads even more."

The games are scheduled to begin July 13.

Some 271 Israelis had been diagnosed with swine flu as of Sunday; all of the cases have been mild.

Israel on Sunday also lifted the recommendation against travel to Mexico due to the virus.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled all meetings, including a discussion with opposition leader Tzipi Livni, after one of his close associates tested positive for swine flu. 

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