By BR Web Desk
The Sindh government has decided to make booster jabs mandatory to curb the spread of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant that has recently been detected in South Africa, it was reported on Sunday.
Health Secretary Zulfiqar Ali Shah has 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 in Jinnah Hospital and DOW Ojha Hospital but it will be provided to the entire province and no charges will be taken for the booster jab," the health secretary said.
On Saturday, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar announced that a notification has been issued to restrict travel from six southern African nations and Hong Kong after the emergence of a new heavily-mutated Covid-19 variant, Omicron, which was identified in South Africa earlier this week.
In a Twitter post, Asad said: "The emergence of new variant makes it even more urgent to vaccinate all eligible citizens 12 years and older."
The southern African countries include South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also classified the new Covid-19 variant as a "highly transmissible" virus of concern and named it Omicron under its Greek-letter system.
The panel said early evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection.
As the news of the new virus spread, several countries imposed travel restrictions to contain its spread. The 27-nation European Union (EU) imposed a temporary ban on air travel from southern Africa, and stocks tumbled in Asia, Europe and the US.
The United Kingdom also banned flights from South Africa, announcing that anyone who had recently arrived from those countries would be asked to take a coronavirus test.
This article was first published in Business Recorder on Nov 29, 2021.