Sunday, August 07
08:33 PM

Is curfew needed to curb COVID-19 cases?


Oman has reported a notable rise in number of COVID-19 cases in the last four days causing some to express the need for stricter measures, including imposing a curfew, especially during the coming Eid al Fitr holidays.

H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, said, because of the notable increase, officials are looking into implementing firm measures. “Curfew has been proposed by some citizens and will be referred to the Supreme Committee meeting on Monday, which will monitor the situation and explore options ahead of Eid al Fitr holidays.

“Enough epidemiological data is available now and, in case gatherings are not moderated during the Eid holidays, the number of infected cases will go up. Regardless of whether we decide to impose a curfew or not, we appeal to the community to stick to instructions about physical distancing and other preventive measures,” H E Dr Sa’eedi said.

According to those in favour of curfew, Eid time is the right time to impose it. “During Eid holidays, it is the time when many people want to mingle and visit their relatives. I think it would be ideal to impose curfew during these days to deter people from visiting each other. This may help to prevent the spread, otherwise, it will be difficult to control people during such a time,” Taimour al Naamani, a Seeb resident, said.

During Ramadan, too, people find it difficult not to visit each other. “There are some families who still visit each other for iftars. It may not be big gatherings, as before, but this can cause the spread because one doesn’t know who has the virus. It is good the authorities have come up with stringent measures to stop such gatherings,” Amour al Touqi, an Amerat resident, said.

Dr Sa’eedi further pointed out that an 18-year-old woman had come to a health center after attending a wedding in which 300 people had mingled. 

“Unfortunately, such gatherings have contributed to the increase in cases,” he said, pointing out  another case of negligence wherein a citizen with symptoms of COVID-19 followed a normal life, thereby passing on the infection to his mother and sister who suffered a kidney failure due to the virus. This person had transmitted the infection to 17 other people.”

During Eid, many citizens in Muscat always want to go back to their villages. However, this time it will be difficult as Muscat would still be under lock down with check pints in place. 

“Royal Oman Police considers humanitarian cases and emergency cases, like people who wish to go to hospital and requests of owners of business activities. But people need to be responsible and avoid organising any social events during the forthcoming Eid al Fitr holidays to avoid causing an increase in number of infections,” said Brigadier Said bin Sulaiman al Asmi, director general of operations at the ROP.

“Telephone numbers have been dedicated to report any violations or breach of precautionary instructions and the ROP’s response will be immediate. Reporting of offenders is a social and ethical responsibility,” he added.

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