Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi/TPS

For the first time, seven cases of the Indian Coronavirus (COVID-19) variant have been identified in Israel among returnees from abroad, the Ministry of Health announced Friday.

In all cases, those who were infected had not been vaccinated against the virus.

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The cases were identified by the national genomic sequencing array.

The Ministry of Health stated that “there is still no clear information regarding the variant and its implications for vaccinated and recovering people. The Ministry of Health reiterates the importance of quarantining for returnees from abroad to Israel, especially from countries where the infections rate is severe.”

Israel’s Corona Czar Prof. Nachman Ash said Sunday of the Indian mutation that “we do not know much about its properties and especially its resistance to the vaccine.”

Speaking to Israel Radio, he said that “in the meantime, we are doing everything possible to prevent it from spreading.”

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

In India, the Indian Ministry of Health reported on Sunday 261,500 new cases, the highest figure in 24 hours so far. India recorded a million new cases in less than a week, surpassing 14 million total cases on Thursday. 1,501 deaths were recorded over the weekend.

Israel’s health services have previously discovered cases of the New York variant, the California variant, as well as the UK, South African, and Los Angeles variants.

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