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Omicron: Mandatory booster shots in Sindh as world trembles

Pfizer vaccine will be administered as a booster jab

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 28, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
Posted: Nov 28, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago

Pfizer vaccine will be given as a booster jab to curb the new variant Omicron—Photo: File

The Sindh Government has decided to make booster jabs mandatory to curb the spread of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant. The new variant has sent the world into panic mode with markets in the Gulf region, which remains open on Sundays, tumbling and countries introducing new restrictions.

The virus has also caused cricket series to cancel.

The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 virus was detected on Friday in South Africa. Several countries including Pakistan have banned inbound flights from South Africa and other African countries.

The panic set in on Saturday and grew on Sunday with reports that more cases were detected in Europe and Australia.

Thirteen cases were identified in the Netherlands and five in Australia on Sunday.

Austria and France were also investigating suspected cases.

Omicron has also been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Booster Shots in Sindh

Sindh Health Secretary Zulfiqar Ali Shah on Sunday said that it has been decided to make the booster dose mandatory across the province because of the new variant.

He said that the Pfizer vaccine will be administered as a booster jab.

“The booster dose is being given only at Jinnah Hospital and DOW Ojha Hospital but it will be provided to the entire province and no charges will be taken for booster jab”, the Health Secretary said.

Earlier, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) chief and Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar urged all eligible citizens to get “vaccinated urgently”.

“Based on the emergence of the new Covid variant, notification has been issued [to] restrict travel from six South African countries and Hong Kong,” he tweeted.

On Saturday, Pakistan banned inbound travel from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana and Hong Kong.

Markets fall

Stock markets in the Gulf region fell sharply on Sunday “with the Saudi index suffering its biggest single-day fall in nearly two years,” news agency Reuters reported.

Saudi stock fell by 4.4% with banks taking a major hit.

There were chaos in Dubai where stock market tumbled 4.8% with Emaar developers losing 7.9% and Air Arabia 7.1%.

The index in Abu Dhabi dropped 3% while the Qatar stock market fell 2%.

Gulf countries have imposed new travel curbs and it seem that the world is heading back the lockdown mode.

The new rules will take force in the UK from Tuesday, and face masks will be compulsory in shops and on public transport.

People arriving in the UK will be asked to take PCR tests. Health Secretary Sajid Javid is also planning on booster shots.

Cricket series cancelled

Cricket is probably the first game to be hit by the new variant. South Africa has cancelled a three-match ODI series against the Netherlands.

The ICC has also canceled the ongoing Women’s Cricket World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

The mega event is scheduled for next year in New Zealand but due to the threat of new virus, Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh will have to rely on rankings.

‘Highly transmissible variant’

The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s advisory panel has classified the new variant as “highly transmissible”.

Omicron has been put into the most troubling category of coronavirus variants after Delta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.

Several countries rushed to ban flights to slow the spread of Omicron. Stock markets and oil prices plunged due to fears surrounding the variant, potentially dealing a heavy blow to the global economic recovery.

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