Israel Detects Five Cases of New COVID AY4.2 Subvariant

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Tel Aviv's Shuk Hacarmel
Masked shoppers at Tel Aviv's Shuk HacarmelCredit: Hadas Parush

Israel discovered that five more people had been infected by the AY4.2 sub-strain of the COVID delta variant, the Health Ministry reported on Thursday. 

This comes after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with top health officials on Wednesday night to discuss the discovery on Tuesday of the first case of the sub-strain of the delta variant in the country. 

Also on Thursday, the Health Ministry reported 331 serious coronavirus cases in Israel, a 57 percent drop from the peak in the last quarter.

At the end of August, seriously ill COVID patients reached 766, but have been steadily declining since the end of September in light of an accelerated booster shot drive, which has seen almost 3.9 million receive the third dose. 

Despite making up around 15 percent of the population, the unvaccinated compromise 77 percent of the seriously ill patients in Israel. Just under 16 percent of the tally are fully inoculated. 

On Wednesday, research by Israel's health maintenance organization Clalit and Harvard University revealed that the first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot are highly effective at preventing infections and symptoms from the delta variant among teens.

Among 12- to 18-year-olds who were fully vaccinated (one week or longer after the second dose) there was a 93 percent reduction in symptomatic COVID-19, compared to the unvaccinated group. There was also a 90 percent reduction in documented cases of infection.

Israel also announced 1,021 new active cases on Thursday, while the death toll reached 8,030 since the onset of the pandemic. 

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