Emerging diseases like new coronavirus being monitored closely in Oman: WHO

Muscat - 

The World Health Organization (WHO) office in Muscat has said that emerging diseases like the new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like virus outbreak are being constantly monitored in Oman. 

The surveillance system in the sultanate is capable finding cases (if any), which includes the latest coronavirus that affected two GCC countries.

Dr Abdullah Saleh Assaedi, the WHO representative in Oman, said, “Monitoring any emerging disease is a very crucial task and we are doing it.”

He said that monitoring is done through International Health Regulations (IHR). “The country’s Ministry of Health reports it to IHR, which in turn reports to WHO.” He added that WHO encourages all member states to continue their surveillance on Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) and is currently reviewing the case definition related to the novel coronavirus.

According to information available on WHO’s website, ‘Until more information is available, it is prudent to consider that the virus is likely more widely distributed than just the two countries of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have identified cases. Member states should consider testing of patients with unexplained pneumonias for the new coronavirus even in the absence of travel or other associations with the two affected countries.’

Dr Assaedi said that the cases in Saudi Arabia and Qatar are rare ones but “strict surveillance is a must for all countries.”

With the onset of winter, cases of influenza could be on the rise. With many cases of H1N1 reported in the Indian subcontinent, reasons to keep a close watch exist. “As far as H1N1 is concerned, we are not expecting any huge outbreak this time in the sultanate,” he said.

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