- Israel has reported its first COVID-19 case involving a “worrying” new coronavirus variant.
- The B.1.1.529 variant was detected in a person traveling to Israel from Malawi, the Israeli health ministry said.
- The variant, which appears to have emerged in southern Africa, is concerning experts.
Two other people who have returned from abroad could also be carrying the coronavirus variant, the ministry said. They have been put in quarantine, the ministry said.
Health officials in South Africa said Thursday that 82 cases of the B.1.1.529 variant had been detected in South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong, Insider’s Dr Catherine Schuster-Bruce reported.
The variant has a high number of mutations in a combination that experts haven’t seen before, per Insider’s report.
The B.1.1.529 variant has spread rapidly across South Africa, becoming the most common cause of new COVID-19 cases in fewer than two weeks, according to a graph tweeted by the director of the country’s Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation.
Ravi Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at Cambridge University, said on Twitter on Wednesday that the new coronavirus variant was “worrying, and I’ve not said that since Delta.”
Israel has reported more than 1.3 million COVID-19 cases and over 8,000 deaths since January 2020, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).