Muscat – Despite how tenuous the state of the world remains due to COVID-19 pandemic, life appears to be returning to normality in Oman with vaccinations going up and the number of new cases going down. This is evident with major sports events being held again after a gap of nearly two years, air travel rebounding and the government working towards ensuring further improvement.
On Thursday, only 57 new cases of COVID-19 were registered in Oman and one related death. ‘The total number of those hospitalised now stands at 82 including 26 in intensive care units,’ the Ministry of Health said.
However, some people still feel scared and hesitant to embrace the ‘new normal’ lifestyle. Others say to confront anxiety they opt for a gradual approach, while others say social effects of COVID-19 are unclear and if they will ever get to that feeling of ‘normal’ soon.
“Honestly speaking I am scared. I do not trust all these news reports as things change suddenly. There is no guarantee of any safe backups for us. Every day, we hear of a new variant or some new mutant. No one is aware of the consequences and even scientists and intellectuals have failed to guide us. But at the same time we need to move ahead in life and cannot wait for the right time to restart our lives. Personal hygiene and respect to government guidelines is the key,” Hamoud Khalfan, a retired government employee, said.
As per the statistics, Oman has kept the pandemic under control, with positive cases declining sharply. “The vaccination campaign is progressing well and I thank citizens and residents for taking vaccination seriously, and this approach protects people from complications and hospitalisation. There has been a sharp decline in cases from the earlier average of 25 per cent to one per cent,” H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, said last week.
“Oman endorses the principle of transparency when dealing with the number of infected cases. I urge all to ignore rumours and misleading information disseminated by media abroad and stick to established facts about the sultanate’s efforts to curb the pandemic. There is a need to abide by precautionary measures and vaccination is one way of controlling the virus while other basic measures include wearing face masks and maintaining physical distance,” he added.
Mahmoud Malik, a businessman based in Seeb, said, “I am into selling of toys for small children. I need to be personally present to showcase the toys. I am excited and keen to be back to the new norm but the only issue is that I need to deal with small children, which parents are not very keen about. It is the time that we realised that things need to be back to normal and only vaccines can let us move on once again safely.”
Dr Saif bin Salim al Abri, director general of Disease Surveillance and Control Department at the Ministry of Health, said that the sultanate has conducted 25mn COVID-19 tests.
“Seventy-five per cent of target groups received the first dose of vaccination, while 42 per cent of them took two doses,” he said.
90% school students vaccinated
More than 300,000 students aged 12 to 17 years have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Oman during the national campaign.
According to the MoH, as many as 305,530 school students aged 12-17 years were vaccinated till September 8. This accounts for 90 per cent of the target segment, which totals 339,661 students in public and private schools.
Of those vaccinated, 277,381 have got one dose, amounting to 81.6 per cent of the target, and 28,149 getting two doses, 8.3 per cent.