All Israel

New COVID variant causes small surge in infections in Israel, no new government mandates

New variant is being monitored by Israeli Ministry of Health

Health care workers take test samples of Israelis in a drive through complex to check if they have been infected with the Covid-19, in Ramla, on April 18, 2021. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90

With the new COVID-19 variant BA.2.86, nicknamed Pirola, only recently discovered in Israel, there has been some concern whether it would lead to a new wave of infections.

Last week, Israel's Health Ministry reported a 30% spike in daily infections, leading them to instruct public hospitals to do PCR testing on all patients hospitalized in Internal Medicine departments.

The instruction was not received well by hospital chiefs, who complained that the benefits of increased testing were not worth the added work for their staff.

Within a few days, the spike in infections had already dropped.

The latest COVID variant was first discovered in Israel in July, and researchers have continued to attempt tracking its effects and how it is spreading. Some immunologists have noted that the new variant is less infectious than past COVID variants.

Last Monday, Assuta Ashdod Medical Center said the new 'Pirola' variant accounted for over 16% of new cases tested in medical facilities, with some reports saying as much as 20%.

Dr. Neta Zuckerman, director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Genomics at the Central Virology Laboratory, said: “It is too early to make a definitive statement. We are actively monitoring every instance in collaboration with the health intelligence experts at the Ministry of Health. However, due to the limited number of identified cases worldwide, it is challenging to predict its trajectory at this point.”

“This whole thing is still being investigated, so it needs to be approached with great caution, but so far, those who have been infected with it are older individuals who did not require ICU treatment after infection,” said Dr. Elroi Price, head of Israel's public services.

So far, hospitals in Israel are not reporting an increase in severe symptoms with the new variant and the Ministry of Health has held off on introducing any specific guidelines given the many unknowns.

Read more: COVID 19

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

Popular Articles
A message from All Israel News
Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
Latest Stories