Stricter monitoring of non-vaccinated individuals expected in 2022 — health officials

(Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Minister of Health Firas Hawari said Friday that the government would take a firmer stance regarding non-vaccinated individuals, introducing new restrictions because the first case of Omicron infection was reported in Jordan last week, according to a local news outlet. اضافة اعلان

Hawari said that Jordanian authorities would start using new PCR test kits for the Omicron variant at local airports and that genetic sequencing to determine the presence of the new variant may be expected in the coming weeks. 
Those attending weddings and large gatherings will be expected to provide negative PCR test results upon arrival, taken not earlier than 48 hours before arrival. 

Speaking on JRTV, Hawari said that Jordan has detected seven proven Omicron cases so far through PCR tests conducted on visitors upon their arrival to Jordan and that those travelers had received negative test results from their respective countries hours before their arrival. 

Member of the National Epidemiological Committee Bassam Hijjawi told Jordan News that the new measures are taken under Defense Order No. 35, which also requires workers in both private and public sectors to have two shots of the vaccine as a condition for continuing their work, and that stricter monitoring and inspection measures will be taken to detect non-compliant individuals. 

The measures will be effective as of January 1, 2022, Prior to Defense Order 35, individuals were allowed to enter their institutions as long as they provided a negative PCR test result. Under the new regulations, this will no longer be allowed, said Hijjawi.

Workers who do not comply with the new regulations could find themselves “isolating at home, disallowed from going to work, and not receiving their wages,” said Hijjawi. 

He added that those who received the second dose are highly encouraged to take the booster shot as early as “Three months after receiving their second dose.”

According to Hijjawi, the latest data, issued on December 16 for the entire Kingdom, shows that the occupancy rate of isolation beds is 29 percent, ICU beds 41 percent, and ventilators and oxygen-support systems 23 percent. 
He stressed that “even if individuals test positive for COVID-19 and end up surviving, they are “still highly encouraged to get fully vaccinated.”

Former health minister Walid Maani told Jordan News that in Jordan, all parameters related to COVID-19 last week were down compared to the parameters of the previous week. 

“By parameters, I mean the number of deaths, the number of active cases, and the numbers needing hospitals.”

Such a decline is perhaps an “indication that we have already reached the crest of this wave. It took about six or seven weeks for numbers to go up, and it will possibly take the same amount of time for the numbers to go down.”
However, Maani emphasized that these predictions specifically concern the Delta variant, and hence it is crucial to keep in mind that the Omicron has the capacity to bring forth a new wave.

“If Omicron comes while the curve of cases is going down, this might lead to the slope not going down as expected, but to it rising again. This, because Omicron spreads faster, and the doubling time for that variant is between two or three days, which is higher than Delta’s or Alpha’s doubling time,” he said.

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