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At least 41 cases of the Indian Coronavirus (COVID-19) variant were detected in Israel, including in five schools in Pardes Hanna, Ma’ale Adumim, Ashdod and Holon, the Ministry of Health stated Thursday.

The Indian variant, B.1.617, has two mutations that may make it more infectious or less affected by vaccines.

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India is experiencing the world’s worst outbreak, and daily cases have been rising continuously for the past two weeks. India reported 379,000 new cases on Wednesday, breaking yet another record for the highest single-day figure globally.

The country has documented over 18,376,000 cases and 204,000 deaths in total.

The latest research shows that the vaccines appear to be effective against India COVID-19 variant.

BioNTech co-founder Ugur Sahin, who developed the Pfizer-produced COVID-19 vaccine, voiced confidence on Wednesday that the vaccine works against the Indian variant.

“We are still testing the Indian variant, but the Indian variant has mutations that we have already tested for and which our vaccine works against, so I am confident,” said Sahin.

The Ministry of Health updated Monday night that over 5,399,000 Israelis have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, some 58% of the population, and over 5.08 million Israelis – about 54.6% – have received the second dose.

About 85% of Israelis aged 16 years old and above have vaccinated or infected.

The Ministry of Health updated that it documented only 100 new COVID-19 cases over the past day.

Of the 36,786 tests done over the past day, only 0.3% returned positive.

118 of the patients hospitalized with Corona are in serious condition, 65 of them are on life support. The numbers here have been steadily dropping.

6,361 Israelis have died from the virus.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.