Israel discovers a case of the Covid strain, which was first discovered in South Africa.
Israel’s health ministry announced Friday that it has discovered a case of a Covid-19 variation with a large number of mutations that was initially discovered in South Africa.
“The southern African form has been identified in Israel,” the ministry said, adding that it was discovered “in a person who returned from Malawi.”
It added two more instances had been discovered in “people returning from abroad,” and that they had been quarantined.
The three people were all vaccinated, according to the health ministry, however the amount of doses and type of vaccine were not specified.
The news of its expansion to Israel came a day after South African scientists announced the discovery of a new B.1.1.529 strain with at least 10 mutations, compared to two for Delta.
Authorities in South Africa stated Thursday that the variety was of “severe concern” and has been blamed for a spike in infection numbers.
It had also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong among South African travelers, they said.
Thanks to a contract with Pfizer that provided it access to millions of doses in exchange for data on the vaccine’s efficacy, Israel was one of the first countries to offer coronavirus vaccines last year.
More than 5.7 million persons out of a total population of nine million have been properly immunized.
On Friday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a meeting with public health professionals and his cabinet to assess the country’s Covid situation.
The World Health Organization will meet later Friday to decide whether the new strain should be classified as a “interest” or “concern” variety.
Because of the variant’s finding, Israel had already placed Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe on its “red list” as of late Thursday.
During the summer, the Jewish state saw an increase in coronavirus infections, fueled by the Delta strain, and began one of the first booster shot programs.
On Tuesday, Israel became one of only a few countries to offer Covid-19 immunizations to children aged five to eleven, making it one of the only countries to do so in the fight against another pandemic.
Israel performed a “war scenario drill” earlier this month in case of an outbreak of a new lethal version of Covid-19.
The scenario encompassed several facets of a crisis, such as mass vaccination, instituting curfews, and banning flights.