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2 doctors infected with Omicron COVID variant; confirmed cases in Israel hit 4

A healthcare worker conducts a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test on a traveler at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27, 2021, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant Omicron. (Phill Magakoe / AFP)
A healthcare worker conducts a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test on a traveler at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27, 2021, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant Omicron. (Phill Magakoe / AFP)

The number of confirmed cases of the Omicron COVID variant in Israel has risen to at least four.

In addition to two earlier cases diagnosed — one in a traveler from South Africa and another in someone visiting from Malawi — two doctors test positive for the new strain. One of the doctors, both of whom work at the Sheba Medical Center, recently returned from a conference in London, and the other came in close contact with him.

Both doctors had received three doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine, says the hospital.

The Health Ministry says it is investigating more than 30 other positive COVID patients who it suspects may also be infected with the Omicron variant, which originated in South Africa and has caused global alarm, leading Israel and other countries to shut their borders to foreigners once again.

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