On Thursday, the Health Ministry in the State of Israel reported that around four people, who are citizens of the country, have tested positive for the Indian variant of the coronavirus.
Overall, more than 40 cases of this particular variant have been reported in Israel. 24 of these were found amongst people who have recently returned from abroad. 17 of cases from a total of 41 were of people who contracted the virus while in the country. As of now, all the local infections have not been connected to citizens who have recently traveled.
Amongst all the people that were infected, five of these are children, as per the notification issued by the Health Ministry. Consequently, the Home Front Command decided to go through with extensive sampling in the schools of these children.
Officials are afraid that the Indian variant could possibly be resistant to vaccine, at least partially. Health Ministry officials have therefore, request that the government stop people of the country from travelling to and from India, unless the situation is extremely dire.
On Tuesday night, the government of Israel was supposed to talk about and then vote on an outline to add more restrictions on airport and air travel. However, the cabinet meeting ran out of time before it even got a chance to discuss the matter.
Most of the cases of the Indian variant have been reported in Israelis, who travelled home from India. On the other hand, there are also those that have entered through other countries. All the citizens who had arrived in the country with the variant had gotten off their planes with proof of a negative coronavirus test.
The Health Ministry clarified that there is still not ample and clear information with respect to the implications of the Indian variant for recovered and/or vaccinated citizens.
A computational biologist working at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Prof. Eran Segal, stated that he believes it is too early for the country to be alarmed by the Indian variant. He added that the Pfizer vaccine is probably effective when it comes to providing protection against the Indian variant. According to him, the efficacy does exist because the key mutations that occur in the spike protein are those that have been found in other variants as well. Though he cannot be certain, the professor is fairly confident that the vaccine will work against the Indian variant of the coronavirus.
Along with the cases discovered in the State of Israel of the Indian variant, the Health Ministry has also reported cases of various other variants. There have been eight additional cases in the country of the South African mutation, two new cases of the California mutation, seven fresh ones of the New York variant, and one each of the Saint Petersburg and British variant.
The Health Ministry went on to warn people to avoid traveling to other countries for the time being. Officials further added that they are trying to make sure that additional restrictions are placed on the airport to prevent people from going abroad unless there are some unavoidable circumstances.