UAE confirms its first case of the Omicron variant
The case was recorded on Wednesday, December 1…
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has confirmed the first observed case of the Covid-19 Omicron variant in the UAE.
The individual that tested positive for the variant had recently travelled into the UAE from overseas; was fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and not exhibiting any symptoms. This individual has of course been isolated along with all close contact cases in accordance with the UAE protocol.
— وزارة الصحة ووقاية المجتمع – MOHAP UAE (@mohapuae) December 1, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised concerns about certain characteristics of this variant, that could potentially render it a more potent threat. These include genetic mutations that suggest it’s a faster spreading pathogen than previous variants, but “this is based on current preliminary information that requires further research and investigation”. Remember, the variant was only first observed on November 12 of this year.
You’re in the right place
It’s important not to panic, in multiple independent, international studies and analytical ranking surverys, the UAE is consistently recognised as one of the most (often ‘the most’) effective nations in handling the heavily nuanced set of challenges dished out by the pandemic.
In terms of balancing preventative measures with personal freedoms; the speed and success of its vaccination programme; acquiring anti-Covid-19 treatments and setting up specially dedicated care and testing units — there are few nations that can even compare.
MoHAP did take the opportunity, however, to reiterate the message that residents and citizens need to get their booster vaccinations. Maintaining antibody resistance is arguably the single most important tool in keeping everybody safe in this ongoing public health climate.
Last week the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) announced a provision for everybody over the age of 18 that received their second shot of Pfizer or Sputnik V more than 6 months ago, to get a third ‘booster’ jab. The NCEMA added “the booster shot will also be provided for patients who have taken the Sinopharm vaccine.”
This booster programme will be rolled out via the UAE’s health authority apparatus. Priority will likely be given to the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases. Contact your local healthy authority (for example DHA, SEHA for more info on where and when you can get those all-important immunity top-ups).
Remember this is a nuanced and developing front on an already existing global health issue. Changes to restrictions on both inbound and outbound are highly likely. But, as of right now (11am on December 2), flights to and from the following destinations have been placed on hold:
South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique.
Etihad has also confirmed that it is suspending flights to and from Morocco.
Green Pass updates
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has announced a reduction on the Alhosn Green Pass window of validity following a negative PCR test.
For those fully vaccinated (which requires those who were vaccinated with Sinopharm to have a third booster jab after six months), you were given an Green Pass for a period of 30 days following a negative PCR test.
But as of Sunday, December 5 — that Green Pass duration has been cut to 14 days. There has been no specified update to those with active, medically endorsed exemptions in the Alhosn app, which means the Green Pass active window will likely stay at the current seven days.