A total of 69 suspected cases of the new British COVID-19 variant were discovered in Israeli laboratories last week.
Forty-nine of the cases were discovered in the lab at Assaf HaRofeh Hospital in Be’er Yaakov and another 19 in a lab in southern Israel, Channel 13 reported on Friday.
Some of the patients who tested positive for the mutated virus variant hadn’t traveled abroad, confirming fears that the variant is spreading in Israel.
The new variant is much more infectious, possibly as much as 70% more than the original coronavirus strain, leading to a surge in infection rates.
Israel’s Health Ministry is purchasing a machine from abroad to assist in genetic mapping at a cost of NIS 10 million ($3.1 million) and is converting its main laboratory into a center for genetic mapping of mutated COVID-19 strains.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)