Protean South African virus mutation raises alarms in Israel

Health official are reportedly calling for steps to be taken to keep a potentially worrying new variant of the coronavirus out of the country.

Scientists in South Africa revealed Thursday that they had detected a new COVID-19 variant with “a very high number of mutations,” blamed for an “exponential” surge in infections there.

The number of daily infections in Africa’s hardest-hit country has increased tenfold since the start of the month.

Children aged 5-11 receive their first first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Jerusalem, on November 25, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

At a meeting to discuss the variant, Health Ministry officials say Israel should bar visitors from countries where the variant has been identified, the Ynet news site reports.

The Kan broadcaster reports that officials have also called for those who arrived in Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday to be tested again, given the variant’s high mutability.

The station also says a meeting meant to discuss possible vaccinations for adolescents who already recovered from COVID-19 has been pushed off by two weeks to wait for more data.

AFP contributed to this report.

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