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Not time to lower guard yet in Oman

27 Sep 2021 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

Those who lost a near and dear one will never forget the suffering caused by the pandemic

Muscat – In the last two years, Oman – like the rest of the world – has witnessed irreparable loss of human life. There were more than 4.7mn deaths in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each one of us is likely to have lost either a family member, a friend or an acquaintance to the virus.

Even though the number of COVID-19 deaths has significantly decreased now, those who lost a near and dear one will never forget the suffering caused by the pandemic. COVID-19 will forever be remembered as a killer that took away loved ones unexpectedly.

Seeb resident Samya al Nuumani, a private sector employee, lost her mother to COVID-19.

“She was on a short visit to Uganda. She battled for her life in an ICU and I could not be with her as she breathed her last. We were in a helpless situation; I will never forget it. We could not travel, due to the lockdown, and neither could she as she was too ill. A week later, she passed away.”

An Indian expatriate, who wished to remain anonymous, was in a similar situation. He lost his mother to COVID-19 and could not attend her last rites in India.

“My mother was healthy but she tested positive and before we could help her, she breathed her last. This happened during the travel ban and so I couldn’t go to India for her treatment or after her death,” he said, adding that nothing will be the same for him when he visits India again.

“Whenever I visited India in the past, I always went to see her,” he said.

Muscat resident Mohammed al Tawqi, who lost his son Abdullah to COVID-19, hasn’t got over the shock.
“My wife and I have no more joy in our lives. Our son Abdullah was a lovable, caring and friendly person. He left us too early. He would have turned 32 today,” Tawqi said on Monday.

Remembering Abdullah, Tawqi said that his son touched the hearts of all those he met. Not just his parents, Abdullah left a hole in the hearts of his extended family, too. “We can only pray and hope to find strength to overcome this pain.”

Tawqi, too, was hospitalised during Abdullah’s death and could not attend the burial making the loss more painful.

However, following strict restrictions brought on by the government to control the spread on the virus through most of this summer, there is reason for relief. Oman is catching its breath after a punishing time when the infection rate and daily death count was beyond comprehension.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported no new COVID-19 deaths. ‘Thirty-four fresh infections were registered in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 303,673 cases. The death toll due to the virus in the country now stands at 4,095 and 43 people are currently hospitalised, including 22 in intensive care units,’ MoH said.

While ministry figures indicate a recovery rate of 97.8 per cent among COVID-19 patients in Oman, far higher than the world average, public health authorities have warned against slacking preventive measures. “Until the time that health authorities announce there is no need for preventive health measures, we should all continue to follow them strictly,” said Dr Sulaiman al Shereiqi, senior specialist of public health in the Ministry of Heath.

“We all hope that soon we will have sufficient vaccine coverage of high risk individuals, followed by those in the lower risk group, to the point that we reach herd immunity in the public, which will stop the transmission of infection and control the disease. But we must also bear in mind that such viruses are known to mutate and reappear in new forms. It is a challenge that may require development of new vaccines,” he added.

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