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    Coronavirus: Additional 5 cases of new AY4.2 identified in Israel – The Jerusalem Post

    An additional five cases of the AY4.2 coronavirus variant have been discovered in Israel, two days after the first variant carrier was identified in an 11-year-old boy returning from Moldovia on Tuesday.

    Following the discovery, the Health Ministry’s testing laboratory examined additional potential cases previously classified as the Delta variant several and discovered that five individuals were infected with AY4.2, which is considered a subvariant of Delta and appears to be some 10-15% more contagious.

    On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with senior health officials to discuss the potential dangers of a new variant.

    The authorities agreed upon increasing genetic sequencing and epidemiological investigations to keep the situation monitored, as well as to be in contact with countries where AY4.2 is already common to obtain further information.

    In light of the new development, Bennett will update the outline by which tourists may enter Israel on Thursday. 

      Israel's Green Pass validity was extended until Thursday on Sunday after the Health Ministry 'traffic light' website crashed, October 3, 2021.  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Israel’s Green Pass validity was extended until Thursday on Sunday after the Health Ministry ‘traffic light’ website crashed, October 3, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

    Also on Thursday, two coronavirus outbreaks have been identified in two elementary schools in Jerusalem and in the Samaria settlement Shaarei Tikva, Kan news reported, as over 50% of new cases in the previous 24 hours were recorded among children aged 0-11, Health Ministry data showed.

    Some 41 students and staff have been found positive at the Zalman Aren schools in Jerusalem and 39 in Shaarei Tikva, according to Kan. Both schools operate under the new Green Class outline, according to which only identified virus carriers have to quarantine, while those who are exposed can continue to attend learning in person provided that they get a negative PCR test after they came in contact with someone infected and undergo a rapid test every day for seven days, followed by a second PCR test at the end of the period.

    The outline was strongly supported by Bennett and the Education Ministry to reduce the number of children and parents forced to isolate. It started to be implemented in areas with low morbidity on October 10, a week before the pilot launched by the Health Ministry in a limited number of schools to monitor its potential effects was scheduled to end.

    While morbidity in Israel has been constantly dropping for weeks, as of Thursday, almost 9,000 out of 15,000 active cases in the country were schoolchildren.

    Some 1,021 new virus carriers were identified on Wednesday, over 50 of whom were 11 or younger – the cohort not eligible yet for a vaccine.

    While a few weeks earlier the new cases often surpassed 5,000 a day, in the past ten days they have remained below 2,000 and are steadily decreasing.

    The number of serious patients also continued to drop – standing at 330 on Thursday, less than half a month before.

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