GCC Health Ministers hold 4th extraordinary meeting

Muscat: As part of scaling up efforts to combat COVID-19 pandemic and developments, the GCC Health Ministers held an extraordinary meeting on Thursday via video conferencing.

Dr Ahmed Mohammed al Saeedi, Minister of Health headed the Sultanate delegation in the meeting in the presence of MOH’s Health Affairs Undersecretary and senior officials.

Moderated from Bahrain, the fourth extraordinary meeting aimed at reviewing and addressing the latest updates regarding the emergence of a new mutated strain of COVID-19 announced in United Kingdom (UK) in December 2020 following the successive reporting of other rapidly transmitted mutated variants in several countries.

The meeting highlighted updates of the epidemiological indicators in the GCC countries, and the main protocols and precautionary measures in dealing with the mutant virus. Standards of vaccines registration, as well as health requirements related to the entry of member states’ nationals across border outlets were also discussed.

On the mutated strains of COVID-19, Dr. Ahmed al-Sa’eedi emphasized in his speech during the meeting that the Sultanate is extremely caution, highlighting the precautionary measures and recent decisions made by the Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from COVID-19 in order to combat and mitigate the spread of the disease.

The Health Minister suggested devising a joint technical and structural mechanism among the GCC countries to accelerate procedures regarding vaccine and vaccination certificates. He affirmed that supplying data and information on vaccines remains a challenge after being certified by the country of origin. Al Saeedi reaffirmed the Sultanate’s credibility in importing a fully guaranteed vaccine, hence emphasizing further the need of a joint database for genome, standards, and studies to register vaccines.

At the end of this meeting, Dr Nayef al Hajraf, GCC Secretary General valued the keenness of the GCC health ministers to combat the disease and deal with its related developments to ensure the safety of citizens and residents in the GCC countries. –ONA