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Three mutants of Covid-19 detected in Sultanate

No plan for total lockdown, only if it is necessary: Al Saeedi
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The number of patients in the hospital intensive care units (ICUs) in the Sultanate has multiplied since the beginning of the pandemic. The number of such beds for Covid-19 patients has reached 460 so far, said Dr Ahmed al Saeedi, Minister of Health, during the Supreme Committee on Covid-19 press conference held on Thursday.

He also pointed out that 567 doctors and 2,046 nurses were taken to provide the necessary care for the Covid patients within the last 18 months.

The minister confirmed that 1,144, respirators were available in the Sultanate. “There is no truth to what is being circulated about the existence of a shortage of these devices. There are 85 oxygen concentrators, and the oxygen factories have the capacity to meet our needs and more.”

He expressed concern over other health services being affected, as many non-emergency operations have been postponed due to the current situation.

Regarding the feasibility of the lockdown, he said that during the holy month of Ramadhan, the number of patients in Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah reached 55, but when the decision was taken to partially close, the numbers decreased.

He stressed, “There is currently no plan to close the airport or complete lockdown, but if the Supreme Committee was forced to take such a decision, it would be to preserve the safety and health of individuals first.”

Al Saeedi mentioned that most of the deaths in April were of the people over 60 who refused to take the vaccination, stressing that more than three million doses will reach the Sultanate at the end of September.

Badr bin Saif al Rawahi, Ministry of Health, said that entry to government institutions and commercial establishments might become conditional on obtaining the Corona vaccine.

“The national vaccination plan includes immunising the entire population for those over 12 years old, and this plan is divided into two phases; The first targets the groups most vulnerable to infection with coronavirus. The second phase of vaccination, yet, will start next July,” he confirmed.

Al Rawahi revealed that more than 40,000 people are vaccinated daily with the anti-Covid-19 vaccine in all governorates, including 16,000 in Muscat. He explained that the number of people receiving the vaccine in the government sector reached 82,000, and in the private sector reached 112,000, calling on everyone to take the vaccination, citing that Musandam Governorate reports the least in the number of infections. The reason, he said, is due to the immunisation of most of the people of the governorate against Covid-19.

Dr Saif al Abri, Director-General of Disease Surveillance and Control, clarified that the biggest challenge we are facing is Delta’s ability to spread into the community. Besides, the patients’ need to enter hospitals and intensive care is much more than the rest of the mutants.

“The spread of the virus is now much more than last year, and this is noted from the infections recorded in all age groups. The results of the epidemiological investigation showed that most of the infections were not caused by workplaces or schools but rather by non-compliance with precautionary measures. We monitored three of the mutants in the Sultanate after genetic sequencing of the virus,” he explained.

Al Abri added, “All viruses change and mutate. Most changes have a slight effect and sometimes no effect at all. However, the coronavirus is completely different. The epidemiological situation is complicated, as the percentage of positive tests reached 30 per cent.”

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