The Region’s Response to the New Omicron Variant
Many nations across the globe are currently facing their highest peak of infections from omicron. The Middle East and Asia are also being impacted by the variant’s reach.
Though scientists believe the variant is somewhat milder than previous variants, countries have instituted swift measures to attempt to reduce the spread. These include restricting some or all incoming international commercial flights and imposing nighttime curfews. Some countries have reimposed full-on lockdowns.
Abu Dhabi, for example, is taking a stricter approach than neighboring Dubai. The government’s health app states that visitors are no longer considered fully vaccinated unless they have received a booster at least six months after their second dose. Visitors must also present a negative test result from the past two weeks.
THE UAE boasts among the world’s highest vaccination rates per capita, with more than 90% of its population fully vaccinated. But in different parts of the Middle East, poorer nations in the region still haven’t been able to vaccinate their populations: only a mere 13% of doses contracted by COVAX have been delivered.
China and Russia are stepping up their efforts in vaccine diplomacy in the region. Last March, China undertook a new joint venture for vaccine production in the UAE between the China National Pharmaceutical Group, generally referred to as Sinopharm, and the Emirati company Group 42.
The two companies envision producing up to 200 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine per year in the UAE. Morocco is also trying to establish its own regional Sinopharm hub.
“Omicron has stunned the world with its lightning fast spread,” comments David T. Youssef, Managing Director of VUMI® Global Services. “While we can only wonder how countries will structure their containment response, people need to be certain about their health insurance. VUMI® Global is there to provide the necessary coverage. It’s just one more reason the company is growing.”
Source: Deutsche Welle, The Associated Press, January 18, 2021