System to detect coronavirus cases working effectively: WHO

Muscat: “While news of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Medittrenan region, it also highlights a positive aspect by showing that the systems put in place to detect and respond to potential cases are working effectively,” said the top WHO director.

Dr Ahmad al Mandhari, Regional Director for WHO Eastern Medittrenan, said, “So far, all countries in the region have been provided with lab reagents, personal protective equipment, surgical gowns & other supplies. The logistics hub in the UAE  is also ensuring the delivery of similar supplies to other countries in all six WHO regions worldwide.”

“It will maintain transparency in handling information about COVID-19. It will continue to work closely with ministries of health and partners to enhance preparedness and response capacity. We also educate communities on how to protect themselves from COVID-19, ” he said.

With two new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) being reported on Tuesday, the total number of persons tested positive for the epidemical disease in the Sultanate reached four. According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, the new cases are linked to recent travel to Iran.

The condition of all four is reported to be stable. “Two new cases related to novel Coronavirus have been recorded in Oman. These were linked to travellers who returned from Iran. With this, the number of cases registered so far rose to four,” the statement said. A total of 250 persons of different nationalities have already been quarantined in Oman.

On Monday, the ministry confirmed Coronavirus in two Omani women who returned from Iran. The ministry called upon all citizens and residents coming from countries that are affected by the Coronavirus to stay at home and undergo infection control procedures.

It also urged all travellers coming from COVID-19 endemic countries to contact its call centre, and if the need be, to undergo the 14-day quarantine procedures as well as follow preventive measures. The statement also urged people to avoid travel to these countries unless it is necessary. The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) said earlier that all flights to and from Iran will be suspended until further notice. Oman Air and Salam Air have already stopped all flights between the Sultanate and Iran since Monday and until further notice.

Meanwhile, the Omani Embassy in Italy has called on its citizens in Italy to stay away from crowded areas. This follows after Italy confirmed more than 200 infected cases of Coronavirus in the country which also claimed four lives. “Italy has announced the closure of 11 towns in northern part, after the increase in the number of people infected with Coronavirus to more than 200 cases. The embassy calls on Omani citizens to be careful and not enter crowded places.” At the same time, the Port Operation and Management Company, Marafi, has suspended import and export of goods by Iranian boats at Khasab Port. “As a precautionary measure, the import and export of goods by Iranian boats at Khasab Port will be suspended as of Wednesday, February 26”, ONA said quoting a statement from the company.

The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), in cooperation with competent authorities, has given permission to airlift Omanis stranded in Iran (Shiraz) to Muscat. This comes within the framework of the measures taken by PACA to bring back all Omanis after the decision to suspend flights, PACA said in a statement on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Oman Embassy in Iran said a flight carrying a number of Omanis has reached Muscat International Airport. Omanis in Shiraz are urged to contact the embassy to facilitate their return to the Sultanate via ‏00989379243188.