Israel identifies case of Covid-19 variant found in South Africa

JERUSALEM (BLOOMBERG) – Israel identified a case of the new Covid-19 variant recently discovered in southern African nations, the Health Ministry said.

The variant was detected after a test was done on a man who returned to Israel from Malawi, the ministry said in a statement on Friday (Nov 26).

The authorities suspect two other people who returned from abroad may also be infected with the variant and have placed them in quarantine, it said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday banned travel to countries where the variant has been discovered and is considering halting flights from those nations.

The UK has already decided to temporarily ban flights from South Africa and five neighbouring countries over worries about the variant.

Scientists are still trying to determine whether the new variant, called B11529, is more transmissible or more lethal than previous ones.

What is clear is that it has the most mutations of any strain yet identified. That has raised concerns in South Africa and internationally, with authorities fearing a wave of cases that could increase pressure on already strained health-care systems.

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