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Israel records new COVID variant

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel’s Ministry of Health said yesterday it had recorded two cases of new COVID variant, but which officials said they were not unduly worried about.

The strain, combining two sub-variants of the Omicron version of the COVID-19 virus – dubbed BA.1 and BA.2 – was recorded during PCR tests on two passengers arriving at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport.

“This variant is still unknown around the world,” the ministry statement read.

“The two cases of the combined strain, which have been discovered so far, suffered from mild symptoms of fever, headaches and muscle dystrophy, and do not require a special medical response,” it added.

Israel’s pandemic response chief Salman Zarka played down the risks.

“The phenomenon of combined variants is well known,” Zarka told Army Radio. “At this stage, we are not worried about it leading to serious cases.”