Israel reports first COVID-19 case with ‘worrying’ African variant

  • Israel has reported its first COVID-19 case involving a “disturbing” new coronavirus variant.
  • The B.1.1.529 variant was discovered in a person traveling to Israel from Malawi, the Israeli Ministry of Health said.
  • The variant, which seems to have originated in southern Africa, is about experts.

Israel has identified its first COVID-19 case with a “disturbing” new coronavirus variant that is spreading rapidly in southern Africa.

The variant, known as B.1.1.529, was found in a person returning to Israel from Malawi, the Israeli Ministry of Health announced Friday.

Two other people who have returned from abroad may also carry the variant of the corona virus, the ministry said. They have been quarantined, the ministry said.

Health officials in South Africa said on Thursday that 82 cases of the B.1.1,529 variant had been detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce from Insider reported.

The variant has a large number of mutations in a combination that experts have not seen before, according to Insider’s report.

Experts to be Worried the variant’s unusual mutations can make it more contagious and allow it to escape antibodies produced by vaccines and in antibody treatments.

The B.1.1.529 variant has spread rapidly across South Africa and has become the most common cause of new COVID-19 cases in less than two weeks, according to a chart tweeted by the director of the country’s Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation.

Ravi Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said Wednesday on Twitter that the new strain of the coronavirus was “troubling, and I haven’t said that since Delta.”

Israel announced Thursday that travel to and from southern Africa was limited due to the B.1.1.529 variant, Reuters reported.

Israel has reported more than 1.3 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 8,000 deaths since January 2020, according to data of the World Health Organization (WHO).

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