Virus czar says first case of BA.3 Omicron strain identified in Israel

Israel’s coronavirus czar Prof. Salman Zarka says a case of Omicron subvariant BA.3 has been discovered in Israel for the first time.

Zarka tells Army Radio only one case of the variant has been confirmed thus far.

Little is known about the strain, which has joined Omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA.2. The WHO said earlier this month it was tracking BA.3, first identified in South Africa in January.

Israel has seen daily case numbers rise sharply in recent days, thought to be fueled by the BA.2 mutation.

The Health Ministry says it is launching a new drive to vaccinate citizens aged 60 and over who have not had a fourth dose. The ministry says 450,000 in the age group have had only three shots, 92,000 have had only two doses, and 120,000 have never been vaccinated.

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