Health officials on Tuesday evening reported the first case of the highly contagious AY.4.2 Delta sub-variant of coronavirus has been identified in Israel.
The variant has recently been detected in several European countries and is believed to have fueled a resurgence of cases in the UK.
The carrier has been identified as an 11-year-old boy who tested positive for the Delta descendent upon returning from Moldova.
Officials are probing whether the new strain is more virulent than the original Delta variant, although they have not yet expressed serious concerns about such possibility.
Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there was no evidence that the AY.4.2 sub-variant spreads more easily.
If the new strain does prove to be more transmissible than its direct ancestor, which is the dominant coronavirus variant in Israel, it may jeopardize the country's exit from its ongoing fourth wave of infections which has been on a steady downward trend in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported Tuesday evening that 1,486 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus out of 104,724 tests carried out over the past 24 hours, putting the country's contagion rate at 1.42%.
Israeli hospitals were treating 354 COVID-19 patients in serious condition, 157 of whom were connected to ventilators.
Since the outset of the pandemic in Israel, 8,021 Israelis succumbed to complications of the disease, eleven more than reported by the ministry Monday evening.
According to the ministry, more than 6.2 million Israelis have received at least one vaccine dose, close to 5.7 million have gotten two, and more than 3.8 million have been administered a booster shot.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.