Muscat: His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik is in close touch with the Supreme Committee Tasked with seeking scopes for tackling developments resulting from Coronavirus (Covid-19), said Dr Mohammed bin Saif al Hosni, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Health for Health Affairs, Member of the Supreme Committee.
Dr Mohammed pointed out that the total number of confirmed Covid-19-positive cases in the Sultanate stood at 1,716 of which 37 per cent are Omanis and 63 per cent non-Omanis. As many as 307 recovered while among the 39 hospitalized patients, 9 are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), said Dr Mohammed.
He explained that more than 6,000 people are put in isolation (quarantine) and that the Sultanate has not yet attained the climax of the epidemiological curve.
The Health Affairs Under-Secretary made the statement during a press conference organized by the Supreme Covid-19 Control Committee and attended by Dr Yahya bin Badr al Maawali, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Head of the Shelter and Relief Sector at the National Committee for Management of Emergency Cases, Dr Saud bin Hamoud al Habsi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for Fisheries Affairs, Dr Saif bin Salim al Abri, Director-General of Diseases Surveillance and Control, and Dr Shawqi bin Abdulrahman al Zadjali, Assistant Director-General of Health Affairs, Muscat Municipality.
The Ministry of Health has successfully completed a convalescent plasma extraction and transfusion process and applied it to some patients, with chances of expanding the therapy to cover more Covid-19 patients, said Dr Mohammed al Hosni, noting that, so far, no single remedy has been used to eliminate the virus. The type of treatment depends greatly on the condition of the patient, he explained.
Speaking about Hydroxychloroquine medicine purchased from India by the Ministry of Health recently, he said that it had already been used in health establishments in Oman for the treatment of other diseases like Malaria, but, as such, no specific type of treatment—neither convalescent extraction and transfusion therapy, nor Hydroxychloroquine—can be guaranteed as hundred percent effective remedy against Coronavirus in the whole world.
Dr Mohammed said that as many as 2,000 medical examinations are conducted on a daily basis.
Al Hosni pointed out that a study is under way to explore the possibility of resumption of flights and that working teams are discussing which types of economic activities can be resumed without compromising preventive health procedures. The Supreme Committee will be updated and it will announce the outcome of such studies when deemed necessary, he said.
The Health Affairs Under-Secretary underscored the significance of compliance with social distancing measures at a time the country is bracing for the holy month of Ramadhan.
Meanwhile, Dr Yahya al Maawali said that the Shelter and Relief Sector is managing a number of isolation centres, which fall in three categories: Institutional preventive isolation, home quarantine for suspected cases, and isolation of patients who do not need to be hospitalized.
For preventive isolation patients, more than 3,000 hotel rooms have been allocated, said Al Maawali, adding that isolation centres have been prepared to accommodate more than 2,400 suspected patients.
In his turn, Dr Saud al Habsi confirmed the abundance of foodstuff in the local market. Consignments of foodstuff have been shipped to maintain distancing among workers, said Al Habsi, adding that the lockdown of some local marketplaces was a necessity dictated by chances of propagation of Coronavirus in the Sultanate.
Al Habsi said that 170 companies have been registered at the electronic sale platform and that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries devised a special programme for the holy month of Ramadhan to make fish available in all outlets in the Sultanate’s wilayats. The prices of fish will be followed up on a daily basis to ensure affordability to all consumers.
In the meantime, Dr Saif al Abri, Health Ministry’s Director-General of Disease Control and Surveillance, said that we cannot ascertain the epidemiological peak and that we might need 40 days from the start of multiplication of cases before we reach the climax.
Dr Saif added that all predications depend on current data and that most of the registered cases fall within the category of community-based transmission of infection, which constitute 71 per cent of confirmed cases. He cited the example of one Covid-19-positive patient who mingled with 70 people in a mere 24 hours due to family gatherings.
Dr Saif explained that Epidemiological investigation has now become a standard measure in most governorates of the Sultanate, which came in the forefront of countries that implemented Epidemiological investigation. He added that, as a result, 90 per cent of the diagnosed people now undergo isolation and that most of the cases are in home quarantine.
In reply to a question, Dr Saif said that the presence of field teams in the Wilayat of Bausher is not an indication of any precedent, but an attempt to provide service to those who need it. The Wilayat of Bausher, which has 93 cases ranks below Muttrah and Al Seeb, said Dr Saif, adding that more than 29,000 tests have been conducted so far.
Muscat Municipality’s Dr Shawqi al Zadjali said that meetings are under way to pave the way for resumption of business activities in cooperation with other departments concerned. He explained that proposals have been made for the setting up of workers’ towns outside residential areas. –ONA