Covid-19 Delta variant in GCC: UAE doctors tell residents to remain cautious

Published on June 20 2021

Medical experts in the UAE have urged residents to get vaccinated and take a cautious approach as the Delta variant of Covid-19 — first identified in India — has now been detected in all the other GCC countries.

According to the World Health Organisation’s weekly epidemiological update, the Delta variant has been found in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. Except for Oman, the WHO confirmed the findings in other GCC nations through its official sources. In Oman, the WHO said the information was received from unofficial sources and will be reviewed.

The WHO has termed the Delta variant as a ‘variant of concern’. However, doctors underlined that people need not be apprehensive and instead should continue to follow precautionary measures, avoid large gatherings and take both doses of the vaccines.

Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, specialist respiratory medicine, Medeor Hospital Dubai, said: “A strain becomes a ‘variant of concern’ when it’s more transmissible, causes more severe disease, reduces the effectiveness of treatment or less neutralising antibodies from the vaccine, or reduces the effectiveness of diagnostic tests.”

Dr Sainalabdeen said the Delta variant is already a dominant strain and found in other GCC countries. He urged unvaccinated people to take the jab at the earliest.

“In the UAE, people should be cautious about this strain and not worry. Along with the normal precautions of wearing a mask properly, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing, we should avoid large gatherings and crowded places to reduce the transmission risk. The best way to prevent this is to take both doses of the vaccine.”

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