The Israeli PM met health experts to discuss the best possible way to prevent the spread of the virus variant which he said was more contagious than the highly transmissible Delta strain, reported Reuters.

 Amid global alarm over the new coronavirus variant, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday warned that the country is on the verge of a state of emergency.”We are currently on the verge of a state of emergency,” Bennett said, according to a statement from his office. “Our main principle is to act fast, strong and now.”

European nations are swiftly moving towards a travel ban on South Africa and its neighbouring countries even as the World Health Organization  has not offered any comment on the precautionary measure. Britain, Germany and Italy have imposed a travel ban on southern Africa to prevent the variant’s spread.

Israel detected the new virus variant B.1.1529 in a traveller from Malawi, triggering fresh concerns in a country with impressive vaccination figures.  The Israeli health ministry said the traveller and two other suspected cases have been kept in isolation.

Meanwhile, the UN health agency is rushing for an experts’ meeting in Geneva at 4.30pm Friday to assess the new virus variant B.1.1.529 amid growing concern.”We don’t know very much about this yet.

 What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is when you have so many mutations it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” Maria van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and WHO technical lead on Covid-19, told viewers of an event on social media.”This is one to watch, I would say we have concern. But I think you would want us to have concern,” she added.

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