Seven Israelis who arrived in Israel on a flight from Ethiopia on Tuesday were diagnosed with the coronavirus, Kan News reported on Wednesday evening.
Some of the Israelis were diagnosed with the South African variant and some with the British variant.
Additionally, health officials said on Wednesday that isolated cases of a new coronavirus variant have been identified in Israel – two cases of the B1.525 Nigerian variant. Officials said that both carriers were isolated and prevented from having contact with others and continuing the chain of infection.
“The number [of new strains in Israel] is minuscule, really one or two, but the South African variant already makes up 1% [of all cases] and it worries us, because the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are less effective against it compared to the protection they provide against the British strain,” said Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Chezy Levy.
The reports confirm the fears of Israeli health officials, who have been saying in recent days that currently, the main risk for Israel is the entry of mutated coronavirus variants into the country that may be resistant to vaccines. Therefore they have been making efforts to control the flow of Israelis returning to the country prior to next week’s elections by limiting the number of returning travelers to 3,000 a day.
However, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the government’s daily quota of returning travelers is illegal and the restriction must be halted by the end of the week.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)