Oman faces an uphill task in asking expatriates to practise physical distancing as well as go in for early treatment as the number of COVID-19 cases among exptriates has been steadily rising daily. Currently, foreign workers make up 66.66 per cent of infected people in Oman.
While the Ministry of Health said that it is important to seek medical attention when one notices the symptoms, so that they can be treated on time to save lives, many expatriates shy away from early treatment.
H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, and member of the Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from COVID-19, has urged all the embassies and ambassadors to tell their communities to come for health checkups early when they experience symptoms and that healthcare will be provided regardless of their nationality, race or the job they are doing.
“It is important to seek medical attention when one notices the symptoms, so that they can be treated on time. Most of those who passed away came to the health centres very late. Some of them were dead on arrival and some of them died at home,” Dr Sa’eedi noted.
According to the latest data, Out of 5,186 cases as of Sunday, 3,457 cases are of expatriates, making it 66.66 per cent. The number of deaths, too, is high among expatriates, with 14 expatriates out of total 22 death cases due to COVID-19.
“The healthcare services will be provided to everybody who doesn’t have sponsors in Oman, as I have mentioned, and to those who cannot afford it for one reason or another, the government will take care of the medical expenses,” Dr Sa’eedi said.
The minister also highlighted that the negligence of some companies and sponsors caused more of the reported cases among expatiates. “Companies and sponsors need to provide isolation places for those who are positive and also isolation places for those who are in contact with positive cases,” he said.
A good number of expatriates, however, come forward for testing for COVID-19. “Providing free testing and treatment for all residents has prompted many of them to go to health institutions seeking medical services,” Dr Saif al Abri, director general of disease surveillance and control, Ministry of Health (MoH), said.
He added that some expatriates fail to comply with the guidelines while some sponsors and firms do not take their responsibility seriously to prevent the spread. “We have been noticing so many expatriates living together in one house, making it impossible to practice physical distancing,” he said.