Land borders closed for week

MUSCAT: The Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic held a follow-up meeting as part of its ongoing meetings to get updates on the pandemic, protect the society against the virus and study ways to curb its spread. The committee reviewed the report of the technical team on the spread of the new COVID-19 strain and means of protecting individuals in the society from the virus in general, and the new variant in particular. Accordingly, the Supreme Committee decided to keep land borders of the Sultanate closed for one week (extendable) from today (January 18), starting from 6 pm.

A growing rate of lenience has been seen among citizens and residents in following precautionary measures approved by the authorities concerned. It has been noticed that social events are drawing large gatherings in tents and other venues, making it possible for the virus to spread among the society. The Supreme Committee reaffirmed that the authorities concerned are pressing ahead with apprehending the offenders and imposing fines on those who breach its decisions. The decisions seek to protect the society and individuals against the disease and to maintain the level of safety. Earlier, a remarkable decline has been seen in the number of deaths and patients admitted in hospitals and intensive care units.

The Ministry of Health on Sunday began the immunisation of second dose against coronavirus, giving Pfizer-BionNTech vaccine to target segments who received the first dose over the past few weeks in different parts of the Sultanate. After receiving the second dose of the vaccine at Bausher Polyclinic, Dr Ahmed Mohammed al Saeedi, Minister of Health, reaffirmed that no side-effects were reported among the recipients of the first dose, noting that the number of doses stand at 38,900. In a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), the minister said that the two doses are given with a gap of three weeks which can be extended to 4 weeks, a formality applicable at some countries in the world. He said that the first phase of the national COVID-19 immunisation campaign saw a large turnout.

The minister added that the level of coverage in Muscat Governorate stood at 100 per cent, while the rest of governorates also reported very high rates. He said that the factor which limits vaccination in Oman is not the financial cost or logistics, but the availability of the vaccine, which sees a large global demand.
Saying that more vaccines will be made available to cover the most vulnerable groups, he said that the new variant is very fast in spreading, but its risk is not different from the mother virus and its response to vaccination is the same.
The minister stressed that all individuals and communities should stick to precautionary measures to keep the virus at bay.
As many as 24,773 were vaccinated during the first phase of the campaign targeting most prone segments like people suffering chronic diseases, elderly and frontline workers.
The Ministry of Health will go ahead with the second dose and it will update the target segments through scheduled awareness programmes via the media so that all vaccinated ones could get the second dose within prescribed timeframe. — ONA