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Travellers bringing home virus variants

27 Mar 2021

The sultanate is currently experiencing an alarming rise in COVID-19 infections, causing an influx of patients admitted to hospitals, according to Dr Faryal al Lawati, Senior Consultant of Infectious Diseases, and head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at The Royal Hospital.

“One of the reasons for the high incidence of COVID-19 in the sultanate is the failure to apply precautionary measures such as wearing a mask in the correct way and sterilising hands,” she said.

“Also gatherings at social events and shopping centres and the lack of commitment of some travellers in following procedures of domestic or institutional isolation has led to the rise in cases again.”

Dr Faryal added that variants of the virus are inadvertently imported by arriving passengers who fail to comply with home quarantine or institutional isolation. This behaviour, she explained, has been the main source of new, doubly-mutated and rapidly propagating variants of the virus. 

“The tragedy is that some of those who get infectious and experience respiratory system inflammation symptoms still mingle with others, instead of isolating themselves.” 

The rising number of cases has also increased the concern “that we might reach a stage where we will be unable to provide proper care to COVID-19 patients. Also, full focus on COVID-19 patients will deprive other patients who need health services”, said Dr Faryal.

 

Reinfection

According to Dr Faryal a small number of COVID-19 cases in the sultanate have showed symptoms of the disease again after three months of the first infection.

“However, it is difficult to decide whether it was a COVID-19 reinfection. More intensive studies and monitoring measures need to be conducted to ascertain the cause,” she said.

Regarding the registration of COVID-19 cases that were twice infected, she said that at the global level studies have shown that a reinfection may happen. 

733 new cases

 

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health (MoH) registered 733 new coronavirus cases and six deaths. 

The total cases in the country have now touched 153,838 including 140,766 recoveries and 1,650 deaths, according to MoH.

The ministry urged everyone to adhere to social distancing instructions issued by the Supreme Committee and MoH.

 

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