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Mary and Joseph denied entry to inn after failing to get negative COVID test 72 hours prior to arrival in Bethlehem

Mary and Joseph have been left scrambling for accommodation options after failing to provide a negative test result at the Bethlehem border, as per guidelines set out by Bethlehem authorities. The couple had booked a night at a Bethlehem inn which they will no longer be able to access.

Describing the queues for testing in his hometown of Nazareth as ‘fucking ridiculous’, Joseph said he and his wife did get a test yesterday, but the results were yet to come through.

“We went to a testing site yesterday, waited for six hours, only to be told once we got to the front of the queue that it was walk-in only and that they weren’t accepting people on donkeys,” Joseph said. “So then we had to go to another site and wait another four hours. So yeah, we haven’t got our results yet”.

He said the authorities at the Bethlehem wall weren’t open to negotiation. “We explained that we’d travelled here all the way from Nazareth, with my wife pregnant, and that we hadn’t received news yet of our test result, which wasn’t our fault. He wasn’t having any of it. He said the rules were clearly stated on the publicly-available scrolls in the town square, and that they had been clearly updated two days ago. It’s such a confusing system”.

Things got worse for the couple when they realised they had forgotten to link their vaccination certificate to their check-in app, meaning they will not be able to stay in official Bethlehem inns, even once their results come through, and may have to settle for a last-minute shared barn on Airbnb.

Joseph did attempt to access his vaccination certificate at the border, but in the end decided that staying in a barn with farm animals with a pregnant wife would be less stressful than trying to navigate the MyGov website.

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