Milan Italy underground
People wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they walk in the underground of the Garibaldi railway station, in Milan, Italy Image Credit: AP

For the past month, scientists and experts have been examining all available data, trying to determine just how dangerous Omicron is, the new variant of coronavirus. It appears that Omicron is more contagious than the previous strains of Covid-19.

The good news though is that there seems to be growing evidence to suggest that while contagious, it doesn’t have the same severe effect as other strains such as Delta. The level of infection is less — and the rate of hospitalisation seems far lower than with the earlier variants.

There is reassurance that the Covid-19 vaccines distributed previously are highly effective against Omicron — particularly if people have received a booster jab.

Here in the UAE, where vaccination rates are among the highest globally, we must ensure that all measures are taken against Omicron. Authorities have already put measures in place that put sensible limits on the numbers of people who can gather and, as always, maintaining social distance and practising good head and mouth protection measures are a strong line of defence against spread.

UAE’s commitment to fight the coronavirus

It is the UAE’s commitment to fight the coronavirus that we are still free to mingle and gather at events such as Expo 2020 Dubai, where the world is visiting to see our nation’s vision for the future.

From the Dubai Airport — that is fully operational, marking a complete rebound from the pandemic-induced slump — to our malls and business centres, the UAE has shown increased business confidence and higher demand for international air travel. At Dubai International Airport, all terminals, concourses, lounges, restaurants, and retail outlets are now fully open.

All this provides reasons for cautious optimism. Yes, we are doing good. But let’s keep up our guard up too. We’ve come too far to be complacent now.

With the festive season’s activities — the new year celebrations are just days away; it is important to remind ourselves that it all starts with us.

Protecting oneself against the virus, by adhering to the necessary precautions, means protecting others around you, especially your family, friends and colleagues. The face mask, regular hand washing and social distancing are a must — these are non negotiable practices for your own and others well-being.

It is upon us to enjoy the season without the interruption of sickness. Early research proved that booster doses are the best deterrent against Omicron. The jab is available near you. Don’t hesitate to take it.