COVID cases are rising again globally – what does this mean for the UAE?

New daily COVID-19 cases are climbing globally once more due to a new variant of the virus, UAE doctors said, urging residents to take precautions.

The JN.1 variant is closely related to BA.2.86, also known as the Pirola variant, which was spreading rapidly across the globe in August last year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In December, the World Health Organisation (WHO) classified it as a “variant of interest.”

“There is no significant increase in life-threatening complications due to new variants… like JN.1,” said Dr. Sajeev S. Nair, Specialist in Respiratory Medicine at the LLH Hospital in Musaffah.

“We don’t need to worry because most are mild cases with few symptoms.”

This new variant appears to be driving community transmission higher in multiple locations. However, in the UAE specifically, Dr. Salt observed that climbing native infection rates may be “because of the lack of personal infection prevention habits as well as frequent local and international travel.”

Rising interaction fuels global COVID

With people increasingly interacting in person again and vast numbers traveling within the UAE and overseas, viral spread may be easier.

There are currently over 22 million active COVID cases worldwide, with around 36,660 in serious or critical states, according to Worldometers.

“Residents need to follow proper infection prevention methods like before, including wearing masks in public places, maintaining hand hygiene as well as practising cough etiquette and self-isolation if they feel sick,” he advised, adding that those who frequently travel abroad should be “extra careful.”

“Keep following basic precautions like wearing masks, practising good hand hygiene, and maintaining social distance. Stay updated on vaccination recommendations and consider getting booster shots if eligible,” said Dr. Nair.

He recommended wearing masks in crowded places and maintaining proper hand hygiene, among other measures that are effective at curbing the virus’ spread.

“The currently available vaccines are effective against the new variants,” he added.

Read More: Arabian Business

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