Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of the Health Ministry’s Public Health division, spoke about the new Omicron coronavirus variant during a discussion of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Sunday morning on the government’s proposed restrictions to thwart the spread of the variant.
Dr. Alroy-Preis explained why the variant is particularly concerning. “The variant apparently first developed in mid-October and was sequenced in South Africa and in Hong Kong – in those who returned from South Africa. It is very concerning because it has a number of very unusual mutations, precisely in the very areas we’re worried about.”
“We don’t know yet how it will affect the death rate in general,” she said. “What we do know is that the death rate in South Africa has doubled.”
“What is even more concerning is the epidemiology – a very rapid spread in South Africa. The number of cases there has risen from 200 to 2,000 in ten days, it has become 75% of the genetic sequencing in the country.”
“We know that there are also cases of infection in those who are vaccinated, they experience light symptoms.”
The number of suspected carriers of the Omicron variant in Israel has now risen to 13, with the cases centered in central and southern Israel.
One carrier arrived from the African country of Malawi, another from Jordan and a third from the United Emirates. Three suspected carriers had not traveled outside Israel.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)