Israel has identified its first case of the COVID-19 variant which was first detected in South Africa. “The variant discovered in southern African states has been identified in Israel,” the Israeli health ministry said.
The health ministry further stated that this case was reported in a person who returned from Malawi in Southeastern Africa with “two more cases of people returning from abroad” placed in quarantine, as per news agency AFP.
Israel has banned its citizens from travelling to southern Africa and the entry of foreigners from the region due to the variant. South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini were added to Israel’s “red” or highest-risk list of countries, a travel list that reflects Coronavirus infection rates overseas.
Israelis can only travel to countries on “red” list if they receive special permission from Israeli Health Ministry. Israelis returning from these countries have to spend between 7-14 days in a quarantine hotel after arrival.
The variant first detected in southern Africa has a “very unusual constellation” of mutations, which are concerning because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, according to scientists.
Meanwhile, Germany has decided to declare South Africa a virus variant area on Friday and this decision will come into effect from tonight. This implies that only Germans will be able to fly to Germany from South Africa and back. Returning Germans will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
(With agency inputs)
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