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Four Cases Of South African Virus Variant Found In Israel

Four cases of the South African coronavirus mutation were found in Israel, the Health Ministry reported on Motzei Shabbos.

On Friday, the ministry said that the Infectious Diseases Research Lab at Sheba Medical Center was evaluating the test results of 15 Israelis who returned to Israel from South Africa in recent days and tested positive for the coronavirus as well as five people infected by them.

The ministry also reported on Friday that another 117 cases of the British mutation were discovered in Israel, increasing the total number of cases to 147.

The coronavirus cabinet voted on Thursday night that all Israelis returning from South Africa, Botswana, Zambia or Lesotho will have to undergo mandatory quarantine in a state-run coronavirus hotel for ten to 14 days.

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of the Health Ministry’s Public Health division, said on Wednesday that there are worrying preliminary studies about the effectiveness of vaccines against the South African mutation. Furthermore, unlike the UK mutation, which is more infectious but does not cause more severe illness, the South African variant can cause serious illness among young people.

However, Pfizer reported on Friday morning that a preliminary study suggested that its vaccine can protect against the British and South African variants.

Israel continues to record over 8,000 new coronavirus cases a day and a total of 51 Israelis passed away of the coronavirus over the weekend, 46 on Friday and another five on Shabbos, raising the total death toll to 3,633.

A record number of 1,646 Israelis are hospitalized due to the coronavirus, with 946 seriously ill patients, of whom 236 are ventilated.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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