With COVID-19 infections rising and a contagious new variant threatening to accelerate the pandemic, many countries have resorted to curfews, lockdowns and other measures. In Oman, commercial activities across the country have been suspended between 8pm to 5am until Saturday, March 20 to contain the virus.
The question is do such measures work to slow transmission of the virus?
In an interview with Oman TV, Dr Faryal al Lawati, consultant, Infectious Diseases at The Royal Hospital, said the decision of the Supreme Committee dealing with COVID-19 to close all commercial activities, will help encourage social distancing that will lead to reduced chances for the spread of different strains of the virus.
The Supreme Committee recently said that there had been a steep surge in number of infections and deaths due to the prevalence of new mutated variants of the virus, and added that a rise in the number of patients admitted to hospitals and deaths in all parts of Oman forced the suspension of commercial activities.
Dr Feryal said until vaccination programmes are fully successful social distancing is the key. It will “help individuals stay healthy and also break the chain of transmission” – giving more vulnerable populations a fighting chance of surviving the pandemic.
“Anti-vaccination campaigns pose a great challenge as some negative videos advising against vaccination tend to spread among the population. Some people believe them more than what officials and experts might say in favour of vaccines,” Dr Faryal said.
427 new cases
The Ministry of Health (MoH) on Tuesday announced 427 new cases of COVID-19, taking the total to 144,831. The number of deaths reported during the same time is three. The number of those who have recovered also increased by 321.
‘The number of recoveries has increased to 135,005 while the number of deaths has reached 1,597,’ an MoH statement said, adding the rate of recovery now stood at 93.2 per cent.
As of Tuesday, a total of 210 patients were admitted in health institutions with 75 in ICU.