After providing relief to thousands of COVID-19 patients and those suspected of the disease, the institutional quarantine centres now host only 16 people, as of August 18. The quarantine centres had started operating on March 24 and registered nearly 10,000 people in 81 locations spread across the country.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Hamoud bin Mohammed al Mundhiri, official spokesman for the relief and shelter sector, said, “The quarantine centres started operating on March 24, 2020. We registered about 9,830 people in 81 institutional quarantine centres across different governorates. The number has gradually decreased as the infection rate has come down.”
He added, that on Tuesday there were only 16 people in four institutional quarantine centres – 12 in Dhofar, two each in Muscat and Buraimi and one in Dhahirah.
He said that the relief and shelter sector formed a number of work teams in cooperation with several charitable teams and volunteers, as well as nurses and doctors, who follow up and provide all necessary isolation tools, besides instructions and advice for isolated persons. “We provide them meals and communication facilities and Internet in cooperation with Omantel and Ooredoo. The Ministry of Social Development has also allotted psychologists to provide social support to those isolated in institutional quarantine centres,” he said.
The relief and shelter teams, in cooperation with the social committees in all the wilayats of the sultanate, distributed food aid to about 266,321 people, said Mundhiri. “We also distributed food baskets to the people of Muttrah and Dhofar during the lock down,” he added.
Talking about challenges, he said the relief and shelter sector has been working around the clock for five months, that, too, with shortage of staff. “With the cooperation of all governmental and private agencies, we overcame all challenges,” he said, adding, “We thank all governmental and private agencies for their cooperation with us, such as Mwasalat, which helped us transport people from Muscat International Airport to the isolation centres, the police, aviation, and Royal Air Force of Oman for transporting a few people from remote areas.”
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