Israel has identified its first two cases of a Brazilian variant of the coronavirus, the health ministry said Monday, as did the first case of the Chilean strain.
All three cases were detected by genetic sequencing in vaccinated Israelis who had recently returned from abroad.
In recent weeks, Brazil and Chile have seen a record jump in COVID cases, prompting some countries to impose quarantine and travel restrictions on arrival from the two South American countries.
The Brazilian strain, like mutations from the United Kingdom, South Africa and India, has undergone a change in the spiny protein and is thought to be more contagious than the original version of COVID.
The Israeli Ministry of Health also said it had found 1
The first 41 cases of the Indian strain were identified last week, including four in people vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Israeli genomic sequencing system has found that 24 of those infected with the variant, which experts say may be more contagious than other variants, have recently returned from abroad.
The other 17 negotiated it through a community transfer, including five students. The Ministry of Health and the IDF Internal Front Command are conducting large-scale tests in the schools where the children are enrolled.
It is not yet clear how these options affect vaccinated and recovered patients.
Israeli orders to restrict international travel to and from seven countries with a high rate of coronavirus infection went into effect on Monday and will remain in force until at least May 16.
The latest regulations also apply to vaccinated people – who in recent months, with the advance of Israel’s vaccination campaign and the reopening of the country, have been largely exempted from most COVID-19 restrictions.
Except for special cases requiring passengers to obtain permits in advance through the Ministry of Health’s website, Israeli citizens and residents are prohibited from traveling to Ukraine, Brazil, Ethiopia, South Africa, India, Mexico and Turkey.