New Covid variant spreads to Israel, first case of Nu-tribe discovery

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The new alarming Covid variant has been found in another country, as the authorities are trying to hold back the highly mutated tribe.

Israel has registered its first confirmed case of the new Covid variant, B.1.1.529, after a traveler entered the country via a flight from Malawi, a country in southeastern Africa.

This is the third case of the new highly mutated strain that has been registered outside Africa, after two cases were discovered in Hong Kong.

The shipment was confirmed by the Israeli Ministry of Health, which is currently investigating the patient’s contacts. Authorities also fear that two more returnees from Malawi may have received the variant, but the results are awaiting genetic sequencing.

Currently, all three travelers are isolated.

“In all three cases, they are vaccinated and their immunization details are currently being verified,” the ministry said in a statement.

On Thursday, the Israeli government announced that it is banning travel between Israel and several regions in southern Africa. South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini have also been added to the country’s list of “red” or most risky countries to travel to. Israelis returning from the listed countries would also need to spend seven to 14 days in hotel quarantine.

On Thursday, a case of the B.1.1.529 tribe was found in Hong Kong in a traveler who carried out hotel quarantine. The traveler returned the positive result on the fourth day of quarantine after two tests.

Reports indicate that they were infected by a guest from across the corridor who had tested positive on his eighth quarantine day after four PCR tests. Both cases had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Since its discovery, the new variant has worried researchers with fears that the highly mutated strain may be more transmissible or more resistant to vaccines. This is because the variant has over 50 mutations, 32 of which are located in the nail region, which can change how the virus attaches to human cells. It is also this area that vaccines focus on.

But when she spoke to the media via a virtual press briefing, the World Health Organization’s technical leader on Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove said it could “take a few weeks” before these concerns are confirmed.

“The concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” she said.

“It will take a few weeks for us to understand the effect of this variant on any vaccines.”

Following the discovery of the new tribe, British Health Minister Sajid Javid placed six African nations (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini) on his red list, preventing travel to and from the countries unless special permits are granted.

Despite this The Australian Government has not yet acted.

In a speech to the press on Friday, Health Minister Greg Hunt said he believed our vaccine coverage would protect us against the B.1.1.529 strain.

“It is highly unlikely that it will affect the effectiveness of the vaccine,” he said.

“This is a completely different situation than the Delta emergence and the high number of cases we saw in India. We are very highly vaccinated.

“There is no basis for change.”

Originally published as New Covid variant spreads to Israel, first case of Nu-tribe discovery


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