H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, said on Thursday that if a complete lockdown is announced, it would be for the safety of citizens. However, he said total closure is the last option the state will resort to.
“The government’s priority is the health of citizens and residents. Decisions will be based on the pandemic situation,” H E Dr Sa’eedi said, adding that currently there are no plans to close airports.
Asked about the tourism season in Dhofar governorate, H E Dr Sa’eedi said that a technical team tasked with studying the matter will submit a report to the Supreme Committee shortly. “A decision will be taken accordingly on whether or not to allow visitors to Dhofar.”
Implementation of a full lockdown would depend on the epidemiological situation in the sultanate, the minister informed, noting that a partial closure imposed earlier in Dhofar yielded positive results. According to H E Dr Sa’eedi, infection numbers in the ongoing wave are “the worst since the outbreak of the pandemic” in Oman.
“The health sector has become saturated. Most deaths during the month of April were of individuals over 60 who refused to be vaccinated. Our aim is to vaccinate all target groups with a dose of the vaccine before the end of August.”
H E Dr Sa’eedi reiterated that Oman will only allow the use of vaccines and medical equipment after ensuring safety and effectiveness. “Those spreading rumours about vaccines will be held accountable,” he said, adding that Oman will not exclude anyone from the National Immunisation Campaign against COVID-19. The minister also refuted rumours about a shortage of oxygen devices.
The Ministry of Health has added pregnant women to the list of target groups for vaccination. “Forty pregnant women were in ICUs until Wednesday,” he said.
Dr Saif bin Salim al Abri, director general of Disease Surveillance and Control in the Ministry of Health, has informed that the presence of mutated strains of the novel coronavirus – including Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta strains – in Oman is resulting in the current spike in cases.
“The spread of cases has increased by about 80 per cent in the current wave due to mutated strains,” Dr Abri said. “The Delta variant is the most dangerous because of its rapid spread.”
A new target group for immunisation is set to beannounced this week, the Ministry of Health stated on Thursday.
The Ministry of Health registered 1,886 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 related deaths on Thursday, taking the total number of positive cases in Oman to 256,542 and deaths to 2,848. A ministry statement said 1,733 COVID-19 patients recovered on Thursday, accounting for a total of 224,077 recoveries.