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New Israeli coronavirus mutation discovered in the country

CM 30/03/2021 2

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A new Israeli coronavirus mutation has been discovered in Israel, the Health Ministry reported Tuesday.
“The Israeli variant appears in samples from July, but is disappearing and the evidence for it is dwindling,” the ministry said in a statement.
Sources in the Health Ministry said that close to 200 people had been infected with the variant. However, unlike the British mutation, this mutation does not seem to be neither more contagious nor more fatal.
In addition, it so far does appear that the Pfizer vaccine is effective against it.
The variant was discovered by the Central Virology Laboratory at Sheba Medical Center during routine genetic sequencing. The ministry said it has “no clinical or epidemiological significance.”
The British variant remains the dominant strain in Israel.
The news of the variant comes on the heels of a report released Tuesday morning by the Coronavirus Knowledge and Information Center that once again warned of the potential of variants entering Israel from abroad. 

“A major issue these days is risk management in Israel with regards to the arrival of problematic variants of the coronavirus from abroad,” the report said. It highlighted the South African, Brazilian and New York variants, which have shown to be more infectious in people who have recovered from coronavirus, and recommended that those who had recovered get the jab as soon as possible.
It also cautioned against allowing easy entry into Israel from Central and South America, the United States and Europe and said that Israel should likewise test and isolate as needed those entering the country. 
Israel’s airport has been almost fully open for entry by Israelis since March 20.
The Health Ministry cautioned on Tuesday that Israel only has enough vaccines to inoculate the country’s current eligible population. 
“There is an important need to purchase millions of additional vaccines to prepare for various scenarios, such as booster shots, the vaccination of children over the age of 12 (with FDA approval) and the possibility of vaccines if resistant variants arrive,” the Health Ministry said in a statement. “Thanks to the vaccines, Israel is the first to emerge from the coronavirus crisis. Thanks to the procurement we seek to make, Israel will continue to be protected.”
In an interview earlier this week with 103FM, coronavirus commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash said that “if you do not purchase the vaccines as early as possible you could lose them.”
More than 5.2 million Israelis have received at least one dose of the vaccine, among them more than 4.7 million have received both doses.
Israel hit the lowest percentage of positive daily cases since the summer on Tuesday – 0.9% – the Health Ministry reported Tuesday morning. Only 356 people were diagnosed with the virus on Monday. 
Moreover, Israel no longer has any “red zones.” There are a limited number of orange zones and the rest are green and yellow.
The Knowledge Center reported that the reproduction rate – also known as the “R” – was down to 0.53.
Israel’s coronavirus death toll stands at 6,188.
Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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