It is common knowledge that ancient civilisations isolated the sick before the actual cause of disease was known. In times when treatment for illnesses were rare and public health measures few, people turned to quarantine to contain a scourge.
A proof of that practice has been recorded by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT), which has identified 81 ancient health quarantine sites (mostly caves) in all governorates of Oman.
A statement issued by MHT, said, ‘The ministry, represented by the Directorate General of Antiquities, implemented a project to inventory and document ancient health quarantines sites in all parts of Oman in 2020 and 2021. The ministry’s specialists documented 81 such sites.’
The ministry confirmed that these isolation sites were used to quarantine patients with infectious diseases such as plague and smallpox.
‘The objective of such sites was to reduce the spread of disease among the population.
The presence of these quarantine sites indicates the awareness of Omanis about the gravity of epidemics and the need to isolate patients to avoid its spread.’