Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, November 21, 2021.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met health experts on Friday to discuss how best to respond to a new variant of the coronavirus that has been detected in South Africa that he said was more contagious than the Delta strain.
"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."
Bennett said there were a few cases of the new variant reported in Israel.
Israel's Ynet news website reported that, according to the Health Ministry, one of those individuals had received a third shot, or booster, of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine two months ago. A Health Ministry spokesperson could not confirm the report.
Israel announced on Thursday it was barring its citizens from travelling to southern Africa and banning the entry of foreigners from the region.
Source: Reuters / Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Alison Williams
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