Family gatherings reason behind COVID-19 spike

Muscat: Just as the Sultanate reported highest one-day COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has said family gatherings triggered the surge.

Family members, friends, and relatives who travelled across the country, from wilayats to wilayats, engaged barbers, and got their dresses stitched by tailors despite the lockdown have all contributed to the high incidence.

“Numerous family gatherings flouting the pandemic norms are the root cause behind the high incidence of infection among Omanis,” Dr Saif al Abri, Director General of Diseases Surveillance and Control said.

“In the past few weeks, some people took the eased restrictions for granted and travelled to meet their family and friends,” he said adding that human contact is the sole reason, and transmission through the air is not established.

“There is no established finding that the coronavirus transmission can happen through the air in open areas,” he said.

In light of this, the authorities have urged both citizens and residents to avoid extra-familial gatherings even as the Eid-ul-Adha is round the corner.

“We would like to call upon everyone to avoid gatherings at homes where people, be it a relative or friend, from outside gather during Eid-ul-Adha,” a senior scholar at the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Endowments (MARA) told the Observer.

The Supreme Committee on COVID-19 has banned all social and family gatherings and group prayers which should be conducted individually or just within the family.

“Group prayers should be conducted individually and not otherwise. No others, from outside one’s home, should be encouraged to pray together because of the contagion,” he said.