Oman has reported an alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the last few weeks leaving some concerned citizens calling for stricter measures including imposing extended lockdown in Muscat – like in Dhofar – especially now that people are preparing for the Eid al Fitr holidays.
Last week, Dhofar governorate went into lockdown like the rest of the country. However, the period of the lockdown was extended by four hours – from 6pm to 5am.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported 1,508 new cases, taking the total number of cases to 185,278. Sixteen deaths were reported, accounting for a total of 1,942.
H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, recently said the virus can be controlled through a variety of ways, the most important of which are vaccination, wearingface masks, maintaining physical distance among individuals and avoiding gatherings.
“It is significant that all should comply before the situation deteriorates and to prevent our health system from being overwhelmed,” he said.
According to MoH data, there are more COVID-19 cases in Muscat than any other governorates. On Thursday, 823 new cases were reported in Muscat. Dhofar reported 164 new cases followed by North Batinah with 153. Muscat has so far recorded 93,367 COVID-19 cases, while Dhofar has reported 12,183 cases. North Batinah has 26,447 cases.
The total number of inpatients in the sultanate on Thursday stood at 822, including 266 in intensive care units. The total recoveries reached 165,051, which is 89 per cent of the total cases reported.
According to those in favour of an extended lockdown, Ramadan is the right time to impose it.
“Ramadan is when many people want to go out shopping for Eid and in doing so, they mingle with others. I think it would be ideal to extend the lockdown by a couple of hours to deter people from going out unless absolutely necessary. This may help prevent the spread, otherwise it is difficult to control people,” said Maulid al Dhawi, an Amerat resident.
Additionally, people find it difficult to avoid visiting family and friends during Ramadan.
“There are some families who still visit each other for iftars. Those two hours are enough to meet and gather. So, if the lookdown is advanced by two or three hours, everyone will make sure they are at home before iftar,” another citizen from Seeb, Abdullah al Naamani, said.