As COVID-19 claimed 42 more lives besides infecting 2,685 people in the last five days, the number of confirmed cases across Oman on Sunday surged past the 100,000 mark. The tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases now stands at 101,270.
The death toll rose to 977 following the 42 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH), which renewed its call for caution, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.
‘COVID-19 deaths is not just numbers. Losing anyone is very painful. MoH advises all citizens and residents to continue to avoid group activities and gatherings, wear masks, maintain physical distancing as well as other measures,’ MoH said.
From September 1 to 8, the average number of daily cases was 200, which jumped to over 300 on September 9 and 10, and further higher to over 400 cases a day from September 11 to 15. Since then, the daily infection count has remained over 500 cases. The number of active cases has gone up again to 9,997.
‘On Sunday, the number of recoveries reached 90,296, while a total of 560 patients were admitted in health institutions, besides 210 patients currently in ICU,’ the MoH statement said.
H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health and member of the Supreme Committee, recently said Oman has ‘slipped’ into the second wave as a result of people not doing what they can to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We understand that all of us are tired and frustrated and bored with COVID-19. We are saddened and worried also that after we reached the peak in the second week of July and the cases started to come down, suddenly over the past weeks cases have gone up again and we know the reasons. People are gathering in beaches, farms and having parties with no masks and physical distancing. Are we in the second wave? We never left the first wave to go to the second. We just slipped into the second,” the minister said.
According to Dr Ahmed al Mandhari, regional director of World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is now a part of our daily lives. “It is affecting the way we work, learn, communicate and manage our relationships. While people are eager to return to their normal lives, the reality is that the situation is not getting any better,” he said.
“New cases globally and in the Eastern Mediterranean Region are increasing. More than 1mn people have died globally, including more than 60,000 in our region. These are not just numbers – they are people whose lives have been tragically taken, leaving loved ones behind struggling to cope with their loss.”
Dr Mandhari said COVID-19 has shown that the world is underprepared to respond.
“Today, the pandemic is far from over. Intense transmission is still ongoing in many countries, and most people remain susceptible. As we work with countries and partners to contain transmission, we are also racing to find a vaccine, which is the fastest and safest way to achieve the level of immunity we need to protect people and end the pandemic,” he said.
Currently, there are 191 COVID-19 vaccine candidates under development. Forty of these are in human clinical evaluation, among which ten have reached Phase 3 trials.
“Seven countries in our region are actively participating in Phase 3 of vaccine trials, including Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. We encourage other countries in the region to actively participate in Phase 3 of vaccine trial for COVID-19,” Dr Mandhari said.
He informed that so far, 156 countries have signed up to the COVAX Facility representing 64 per cent of the world’s population.
“A further 38 countries are in talks to join, so we expect this number to grow. This is a huge vote of confidence in the facility. A vast majority of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region are joining the COVAX Facility, with 11 as self-financing countries and the other 11 under GAVI’s advanced market commitment (AMC) which will provide financial support to eligible countries to purchase the vaccine, based on their economic status,” he said.