The minister praised the people in adhering to the decisions of the Supreme Committee, which led to the fall in the number of cases in the Wilayat.
Dr. Al Saidi said a committee has been set up to study to reopening of airports. “A committee has been assigned to draw up procedures and measures and plans to allow travel will be considered soon. There are ongoing meetings with airport operators in Oman to discuss safety measures. In the event of reopening airports, passengers to and from the Sultanate will be subjected to rapid tests.
Dr. Saif al Abri, DG of Diseases Surveillance and Control, said that industrial activities will not be allowed to open in Wadi Kabir. “It is difficult to define the nature of the epidemiological situation in the Sultanate. The challenge was the gradual reopening of activities Ramadhan and Eid Al Fitr.”
Dr. Al Abri said the next two weeks are decisive in light of the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. He said that most of the deaths are from the Governorate of Muscat, and 50 percent of them are Omanis aged over 50. He announced that the third phase of reopening will be announced soon.
The director-general said most governorates started to use the medical bracelet. “The ministry will expand this procedure during the next stage and if we coronavirus suspects have to wear bracelets mandatory.”
Al-Abri said the government expected to see 1,600 cases daily. But thanks to early precautions, the government was able to limit the caseload. “The infections are under control but the increase in cases among Omanis in the past days was due to family gatherings in wilayats during Eid and Ramadhan. The cases increased among ex-pats due to gatherings in labor camps.”
The Minister of Health said the Sultanate is transparent in declaring coronavirus statistics. “Oman provides treatment and examination for residents for free of cost,” he said referring to concerns of international organizations.
On Thursday, 787 new cases were registered of which 265 Omanis and 513 for non-Omanis, taking the total to 14,316. The virus claimed 67 lives. Recoveries rose to 3,451. Total number of hospitalised patients are 226, while 58 are in intensive care. There are now 120 patients in intensive care, representing 1 per cent of the total cases. He explained that 186 health workers are infected with COVID-19.
Dr Al Saeedi said the decision on resuming printing of newspapers will be taken next week as there is the fear of infection through newspapers and other publications.
On recovery of coronavirus patients, the minister said that many countries have changed the definition, but the Sultanate has set a 14-day period to ensure the patient’s full recuperation. “There are countries that have reduced the period to 8 days. However, the recovery rate in the Sultanate is not less than the international level and our mortality rate did not exceed 0.5 per cent.”
Dr Feryal al Lawati, Head of Infectious Diseases Unit at the Royal Hospital, said that patients with diabetes accounted 30 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the Sultanate. “A large number of deaths among expatriates took place at homes as patients did not seek treatment, noting that chronic diseases play a major role in the deaths of those with coronavirus.
Regarding hydroxychloroquine, Dr. Feryal said the drug is used in the treatment of malaria and other diseases, noting that no serious complications were detected. “There are scientific reservations about the study, which was published last week regarding this drug, and that studies are still ongoing.”
Touching on the same point, the minister of health said a team has been formed to look into the published medical study that warns against the use of hydroxychloroquine, indicating that the Sultanate used this drug for the treatment of other diseases like Lupus.