Health Officials: Isolated Cases of New Variant Found in Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israelis receives a COVID-19 vaccine injection, at Meuhedet COVID-19 vaccination center in Kfar Habad, on Feb. 16. (Flash90)

A few isolated cases of new foreign strains of coronavirus have been detected in Israel, health officials said on Wednesday.

The Health Ministry said two cases of the B1.525 Nigerian variant of COVID-19 have been located, but in both instances the chain of infection was cut and those infected were prevented from having contact with anyone else.

The ministry’s statement came shortly after its Director General Prof. Chezy Levi said that the Brazil variant has been discovered in the country. The ministry emphasized that so far there has been no official discovery of the Brazilian strain in the country.

Prof. Levi said he was worried about the import of foreign strains since the current coronavirus vaccines appear to be less effective against them.

“The number [of new strains in Israel] is miniscule, 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. Therefore, precaution must still be taken.”