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Oman wary as COVID-19 cases rise in Europe

20 Oct 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Muscat – While the number of COVID-19 cases in the sultanate has dropped significantly, several European countries are witnessing a spike prompting health officials and concerned citizens to call for caution as authorities continue to be on the alert to check a resurgence of infections in Oman.

Omar Saeed al Hashemi tweeted, “We have lived in anxiety for almost two years; life has come to a standstill. Many lives were lost and our economy suffered. We must adhere to the precautionary measures and continue the vaccination drive so that the maximum number of people are immunised.”

He described the Ministry of Health’s decision to vaccinate all expatriates for free as a positive step. “This will help us return to a normal life.”

Alerting about the resurgence of COVID-19 in several countries, twitterati Yosef al Shibli said, “We must take care and be cautious in crowded places such as auditoriums, schools, colleges and markets. And we must continue to wear masks and observe social distancing.”

According to Dr Zakaria bin Yahya al Balushi, infectious diseases consultant at The Royal Hospital, in countries which are witnessing a spike in cases, those infected are mostly unvaccinated.

“Also, many who are infected are over 65 years old. Some studies recommend a booster dose for this age category, as they are often immuno-compromised.” He said it is imperative to monitor the situation in Britain and all epidemiological data as numbers rise.

“The situation is still not worrisome, but we must definitely monitor it. I urge the mainstream and social media not to spread fear resulting from a lack of proper understanding of the epidemiological situation and analysis of it,” Dr Balushi cautioned.

Mukhtar al Hinai, a concerned citizen, said that with the increase in infections in Britain, Russia and a few other countries, “we have to prepare to take decisions to restrict travel to and from these countries. We should not delay decisions”.

Hamid al Neyadi tweeted, “The situation is not dangerous, as most of the infected people in these countries were not immunised. Many of them refused vaccines.”

Dr Zaid bin al Khattab al Hinai, assistant professor at the College of Medicine and an infectious diseases consultant at Sultan Qaboos University, tweeted, “The Delta variant is currently the only SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern in the United States. All other variants are now Variants Being Monitored (VBM), a new class of variants that no longer pose a significant health risk in the US.”

According to international reports, Britain is monitoring a new strain of the Delta variant, amid a wave of infections that is the highest in months, while Russia is imposing health restrictions to counter the spread of the virus.

35 cases in two days

The sultanate is witnessing a marked progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19 as the number of vaccinated individuals of the target population grows.

According to figures released by the Ministry of Health, 35 new cases of coronavirus were registered in two days – Monday and Tuesday. This takes the total number of cases in the sultanate to 304,101, and COVID-19 related deaths to 4,107.

The ministry stated that 46 COVID-19 patients have recovered in this period, accounting for a total of 299,480 recoveries.

The MoH confirmed that vaccines are available free of charge at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre for expatriates. It urged residents to book appointments through the Tarassud app.

Ministerial group formed to monitor schools

A joint working group with representatives from departments in the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Education (MoE) has been formed to conduct field visits to schools to monitor the precautionary health measures, and identify the challenges faced in implementing school health services.

The joint working group includes MoH’s Department of School and University Health, and the Directorate General of Nursing Affairs, and the MoE’s Guidance and Awareness Department.

The formation of the working group comes within the framework of continuous cooperation between the two ministries in line with Supreme Committee’s directions to study mechanisms to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The group is divided into three teams, each consisting of the MoE and the MoH officials, which will cover all the governorates in the sultanate according to an agreed schedule.

A common supervision visit form has been prepared for all teams that will visit school clinics and cafeteria.

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