Palestinians Confirm First Three Omicron Cases in the West Bank

According to figures released by the Health Ministry, roughly one in three Palestinians in the West Bank have received two shots of the coronavirus vaccine, but relatively few got a booster shot

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A Palestinian member of a health ministry mobile unit vaccinates an elderly Palestinian man against the COVID-19 coronavirus, at his home in Dura near Hebron in the West Bank in June.
A Palestinian member of a health ministry mobile unit vaccinates an elderly Palestinian man against the COVID-19 coronavirus, at his home in Dura near Hebron in the West Bank in June.Credit: HAZEM BADER / AFP

Three cases of the highly infectious omicron variant of the coronavirus have been identified in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry's spokesman, Kamal al-Shakhrah, said the confirmed carriers all returned from abroad recently, but did not specify where from. They are residents of Ramallah, Hebron and Tubas.

According to figures released earlier on Thursday by the ministry, there are fewer than 140,000 Palestinians in the West Bank who had three shots of the coronavirus vaccine.

With about 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, just over a million of them have received two shots of the vaccine.

Early this year, Israel – which was one of the first countries to vaccinate its population – came under criticism for not sharing enough of its supplies with the Palestinians.

Since then, Israel has vaccinated tens of thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel and its settlements, and the Palestinians have procured Pfizer, Sputnik and other vaccines from the United Nations' COVAX scheme and other sources.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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