Photo Credit: NIAID
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 virus particles (purple), isolated from a patient sample. Image taken at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Israel’s Health Ministry has reported the first two cases of a Brazilian variant of COVID-19, diagnosed in an infant and vaccinated man who had returned to the Jewish State from abroad.

In addition, the first case of the Chilean strain was also identified – also in a vaccinated Israeli returning from abroad.

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The three cases of the South American variant were discovered through genetic sequencing of samples from vaccinated Israelis returning from abroad.

In addition, 19 cases of the Indian variant of COVID-19 were diagnosed among non-citizen arrivals as well. To date, 60 cases of the Indian variant of COVID-19 have been identified among travelers arriving in Israel.

A total of 215,542 people died in India from the virus, including 3,689 COVID-19 victims within the past 24 hours. The number of new coronavirus cases in India topped 300,000 for a 12th straight day on Sunday. Indian authorities reported 392,488 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of infections to nearly 20 million (19.93 million).

Both Israel and the UK are sending medical aid to India to help that country deal with the crisis. The Israel Air Force is set to send a special flight on Tuesday to India with medical supplies to help fight the virus. Britain sent more than 600 items of medical equipment.

Israel’s Ministry of Health said it will continue to update the public on additional findings as they appear. However, the ministry also reiterates its recommendation to the entire Israeli population – including those who have already been vaccinated and those who have recovered from the coronavirus – to avoid unnecessary travel abroad.

“We reiterate that those who have returned from abroad and are not vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 are required to undergo quarantine,” the ministry said.

Returning travelers from “Level 2” countries where there is severe morbidity – including those who are vaccinated and/or recovered from the virus – must self-isolate as well.

The seven nations considered by Israel to be “high risk” include Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and Ukraine.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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