World Muslim Communities Council postpones UAE conference over Omicron COVID-19 fears

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The World Muslim Communities Council has announced the postponement of its international conference in the United Arab Emirates as international concern rises over the spread of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron across the globe

The conference, ‘Islamic Unity: Concept, Opportunities, Challenges’, which was scheduled to be held on 12-14 December, was canceled “due to the developments of the of the new coronavirus variant Omicron, state news agency WAM reported.

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Dr. Ali Rashid al-Nuaimi, chairman of the council, said a new date will be announced for the conference, after the end of this emergency event.

“Although the UAE, which is hosting the event, is not affected by this new variant, but the precautionary measures taken in some countries might lead to a lockdown there, making the return of guests coming from these countries very difficult,” he said.

It comes as the UAE announced on Sunday that it has made COVID-19 vaccine booster shots available for everyone over the age of 18 over rising fears over the new variant.

“The ministry has made the booster shot available for all categories of people over the age of 18 who have received two doses of the Pfizer-BionTech and Sputnik vaccine, given that six months have passed since they received the second dose,” said UAE health sector spokesperson Farida al-Hosani.

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“We advise everyone to take the booster dose as soon as possible, specifically the elderly and those with chronic diseases. Vaccination contributes to increasing immunity and preventing infection, severe symptoms and deaths, especially when dealing with variants,” she added.

The WHO had declared on Friday that Omicron, which was detected earlier this month in South Africa, was a variant of concern.

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