Israel reports first case of South African coronavirus strain

Israel reported Saturday it has discovered its first case of the highly contagious South African coronavirus strain.

The health ministry said four cases of the strain had been identified and found after an advanced testing program, according to The Times of Israel. The cases include an individual who recently traveled from South Africa and family members of another individual who returned from the country.

Travelers from South Africa and the United Kingdom, where new viral strains are circulating, are required to isolate in quarantine motels upon arrival.

So far the coronavirus strain from the United Kingdom has been detected in 30 people in Israel, of which six were confirmed to be inbound international passengers, the Ministry of Health said.

Both strains have a common mutation known as N501Y, an alteration on the spike protein of the virus, and appear to be more contagious.

Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, on Saturday also announced the country’s first known case of the South African variant. Canada additionally has reported 14 people with cases of the UK coronavirus variant.

In the US, 63 cases of the UK variant have been recorded in eight states as of Friday, a map by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

Both Moderna and Pfizer, whose vaccines are being administered in multiple countries, have said their shots should provide protection against the coronavirus variants.

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