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COVID-19 field hospital to open by September-end

5 Sep 2020 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, said the first phase of a field hospital to handle COVID-19 cases is set to open by September-end. 

“The field hospital will reduce pressure on health institutions in all governorates. This is in cooperation with the private sector,” H E Dr Sa’eedi said on Thursday. 

“Basic health services such as vaccinations, maternity and childcare have not been affected by the pandemic. The sultanate never reached a point where patients were deprived of intensive care beds due to lack of availability. The sultanate is witnessing a fluctuating number of infections, more on the decline,” he added. 

H E Dr Sa’eedi reiterated that everyone must focus on following the precautionary measures to prevent an increase in the number of infections. “The most important thing is to avoid social gatherings. The number of new cases has started to double in some countries after the reopening of activities. No country can pretend that the COVID-19 epidemic is over. Any activity that requires large human gatherings must be prevented.”  

“Returning to life before January 2020 is not possible, but we must adapt and live with COVID-19,” he said. 

With regard to a vaccination for COVID-19, H E Dr Sa’eedi said, “We are in touch with all manufacturers of the vaccine. The sultanate has joined the Global Vaccine Alliance of the World Health Organization. Oman, represented by the Ministry of Health, has placed orders with all companies that are in the last stage of testing the vaccine. We intended to participate in clinical trials of vaccines, but most of the companies put impossible or difficult conditions.” 

Dr Saif bin Salem al Abri, director general of Disease Control, said the Ministry of Health currently does not rely on the number of tests to monitor the outbreak of the epidemic. The number of hospitalisations has decreased by 38 per cent, while the number of inpatients in ICU has comedown by 40 per cent and deaths dropped by 23 per cent.  

“We hope that the (self-reporting) feature of suspected cases will be implemented through the smart phone application (Tarassud +) very soon, in five languages. All this will help us more in monitoring the situation,” he said. 

Dr Hamad al Harthi, director of Al Nahda Hospital, said, COVID-19 can’t be taken lightly.  

“Do not be deceived by the simple symptoms of COVID-19. Sometimes complications appear in later stages,” he said. 

70% of government staff back to offices 

The percentage of government employees who can report to work has been raised to 70 per cent, while the focus on work from home will continue. 

“Department in-charges have been given the flexibility to decide on the percentage and ensure that services offered to citizens and residents are not affected,” H E Dr Sa’eedi said. 

He said that government institutions must follow the precautionary measures to ensure that the virus is not transmitted.  

Dhofar to remain under lockdown  

Even though some procedures have been put in place for people to enter and exit Dhofar, overall, the governorate will remain under lockdown. 

“If we open the governorate, the number of cases may increase and so will the burden on the healthcare workers. Lifting the lockdown will be announced in due course,” H E Dr Sa’eedi said. 

Dhofar, Masirah Island, Duqm, Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams were locked down on June 13. Dhofar is now the only region still in lockdown.

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