Israel finds first case of novel coronavirus variant

JERUSALEM (AP)-The Israeli Ministry of Health said it found the country’s first case of a variant of the novel coronavirus in a traveller returning from Malawi.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement on Friday that the traveller and two other suspected cases have been quarantined. It said all three people were vaccinated, but it is currently investigating their exact vaccination status.

A new variant of the coronavirus has been discovered in South Africa. Scientists say this is a worrying issue because of its large number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.

Late on Thursday, the government declared South Africa and six other African countries “red countries” and prohibited foreign citizens from going to Israel. Israelis returning from these countries must go through a period of isolation.

At the end of last year, Israel launched one of the earliest and most successful vaccination campaigns in the world. Nearly half of the population received a booster shot. Israel has recently expanded this sport to include children as young as 5 years old.

But in recent months, the country has experienced a wave of new cases driven by the delta variant, which has only recently been brought under control.

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