As the number of countries reporting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rises, health officials are advising more preventive measures in anticipation of more cases. In Oman till date, four cases have been confirmed and over 250 quarantined on suspicion of infection.
According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
‘Every day preventive actions like washing of hands often with soap and water and avoiding close contact with people who are sick are recommended to help arrest the spread of virus. Those who are suspected of having the virus should visit the nearest health centre, avoid crowds, and if confirmed sick, avoid use of public transport and should not leave home for 14 days,’ MoH said in its preventive measure charts.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Dr Sulaiman al Shereiqi, senior specialist in Public Health, Ministry of Heath, said, “For public it is important to adopt good hygiene involving washing hands with soap and water as often and avoiding close contact with suspicious cases, particularly those showing symptoms. Also, there is a need to avoid travel to endemic places and limiting casual handshake or nose peak contact with strangers. In addition, we need to hydrate our body with sufficient fluids and eat healthy and nutritious food.”
Dr Shereiqi said that infected or suspicious cases need to abide by advice given by the health officials. “For infected or suspicious cases, they need to abide by advice given by the health and quarantine authority so as to avoid further spread of disease and to adhere to any supportive treatment. Healthcare workers need to maintain good practice of universal health safety precautions and disinfect using antiseptic soap or antiseptic solution. And when required to get close to patients use further infection control measures,” he said.
Dr Shereiqi said, “If it is not for a necessity, please avoid crowds. But if at all one has to, then avoid too much crowd as possible until it is otherwise advised by health authorities.” While many people are rushing for face masks, health officials said they are not required for now. “When infection is more prevalent it will be advised and recommended but as of now it is not required unless there is suspicion of large number of undiagnosed cases.”
MoH’s contact number is 24441999 and work timings are from 7.30am to 9.30pm on work days and from 9.30am to 4.30pm on holidays.