Photo Credit: Yossi Aloni/Flash90
Israelis perform tests for the Coronavirus at a Maccabi Test Center, in Ramle. January 7, 2021.

A highly contagious variant of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) first discovered in South Africa has been discovered in Israel, the Health Ministry stated.

Four cases of the virus were discovered in Israel, all in citizens who have recently returned from South Africa.

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This variant is not more deadly, but experts say it is far more contagious than the variant that has spread across the globe.

The ministerial committee on the Coronavirus on Thursday approved the Health Ministry’s proposal requiring citizens returning to Israel from South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, or Lesotho to enter quarantine in designated state-run hotels for two weeks.

Speaking during Wednesday’s meeting of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of Public Health Services in the Ministry of Health, discussed a “worrying” preliminary study that examined 11 cases where the existing vaccines were shown to be less effective against the South African variant strain of the coronavirus.

However, she stressed that it was not clear what impact the current vaccines have on the strain.

Alroy-Preis added that the South African strain is troubling because it might lead to higher rates of infection among the younger populations.

The United Kingdom COVID-19 mutation has been found at multiple locations throughout the country.

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