Israel closely monitors new AY4.2 COVID-19 variant

October 21, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held discussions on Wednesday following the discovery of a case of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) AY4.2 variant in Israel.

In Gaza City a mural depicting the COVID-19 coronavirus. Gaza, Oct 5, 2020. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS

An 11-year-old boy returning from abroad was found to be infected with the strain on Tuesday.

The officials presented Bennett with the available information on the new variant, of which only isolated cases have been discovered in Israel.

Bennett emphasized that “developments must be closely monitored and that quick action must be taken in order to maintain the success that has been achieved up until now in the fight against the virus.”

The fourth COVID-19 wave in Israel is apparently fading away, as the country is recording the lowest COVID-19 stats in months.

The outcome of the third Pfizer-developed booster vaccine administered to over 3,871,000 Israelis in recent weeks is apparently taking effect. However, the health establishment already has its eye on a possible fifth wave in the winter.

At the close of the discussion, Bennett decided to liaise with countries with the variant to share information, and to update the plan for the entry of tourists from abroad according to the existing information on the new strain.

Bennett’s government has essentially maintained an open sky policy during the months he has been in power.

Professor Ran Blitzer, a member of the team for the treatment of epidemics at the Ministry of Health, told IDF Radio on Thursday that “it is unlikely that it (AY4.2) is more dangerous. Variants are revealed all the time and most of them do not stay with us, they have no advantage over the existing ones.”

“It will only start to matter if it is established and there is a significant difference in relation to the existing variety,” he explained.

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