Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Govt to start COVID-19 vaccine booster shots amid Omicron concerns

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KARACHI: The federal government has decided to administer coronavirus booster shots to the general public aimed at curtailing the spread of Omicron, a new heavily mutated Covid-19 strain, ARY News reported citing sources.

As per the strategy finalised by the Health Department, the government is likely to start offering Covid-19 booster shots for fully vaccinated individuals from December 1. The booster shots will be administered in phases, said sources.

In first phase, healthcare workers and fully vaccinated individuals aged 50 and older can avail the facility which will be free of cost, sources informed ARY News.

Travel restrictions 

The variant, now known as Omicron, has prompted countries across the globe including Pakistan to limit travel from southern Africa, where the virus was first detected.

Head of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) Asad Umar Saturday had announced to impose a travel ban on seven countries after the emergence of a new COVID variant, Omicron.

Read More: NCOC expands testing capacity in high-risk areas amid Omicron outbreak

“Notification has been issued to restrict travel from 6 south [African] countries and Hong Kong,” he had said adding that the emergence of a new variant makes it even more urgent to vaccinate all eligible citizens of 12 years and older.

Pakistan sees spike in Covid cases

As the threat of new Covid strain ‘Omicron’ spreading to Pakistan looms large, the country recorded a spike in new cases of the pandemic in the last 24 hours.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data, a total of 42,577 samples were tested, out of which 475 turned out to be positive, taking the country’s caseload to 1,284,840.

The positivity rate rose to 1.1 per cent from 0.59 per cent recorded the previous day.

The death toll jumped to 28,728 after ten more people succumbed to the viral disease in the past 24 hours. The number of Covid-19 patients in critical care in various hospitals across the country has come down to 905.

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