‘Oman to see 500 cases a day during virus outbreak peak’

Muscat: The Minister of Health,  Dr Ahmed al Saeedi, on Thursday said the Sultanate is expecting 500 cases a day during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak between April 23-30. The minister was addressing the media through e-conference along with the other Supreme Committee members.

“During the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, we expect 500 cases a day of which 150 likely to require intensive care. Social distancing is the only way to contain this pandemic,” said Dr al Saeedi.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday announced 109 new cases, bringing the total number to 1, 019. This includes 384 Omanis and 635 expatriates.

The Minister said though the covid-19 cases are on the rise in the Sultanate, numbers in Oman are much less compared to the global levels. The fatality rate from coronavirus in the Sultanate is 0.04%.

“For the government, it costs 1000 rial for a covid-19 affected ICU patient. Coronavirus affects all ages without exception. We have seen death cases in different age groups”.

“The total number of inpatients with Covid-19 in the Sultanate’s hospitals are 23, including 7 in ICU. As per data available, we don’t think that a vaccine will be available in nine months from now,” added the minister.

Almost all wilayats in the Sultanate have confirmed covid-19 cases, the minister said confirming that precautionary measures should not be eased across Oman.

The market area in Jaalan Bani Bu Ali has been isolated after 12 community transmission cases have been detected, the Health Minister said at the press meet.

“All our doctors are well-informed, so any treatment that has proven effective is used in the Sultanate,” added the minister.

During the virtual press-conference, the executive president of the Central Bank of Oman(CBO), Tahir bin Salem al Amri, said the banking sector in the Sultanate is able to face the current situation as banks ’capital, reserves are in good shape.

The CBO president clarified that the bank do not agree with delaying loan repayments of each and every bank customers. Banks have been told to verify such cases before implementation.

“As circulated earlier, an amount of RO 8 billion was not pumped into the banking sector, but banks were allowed to benefit from this amount with certain regulations,” added al Amri.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, said during the Supreme Committee press meet that there some companies reduced the wages of a number of employees without negotiating with them.

“The Ministry got int touch with these companies and we have reached an agreement with nearly 26 companies.”

Any amount deducted from the employees must be returned to them, the minister said.

“The responsibility is shared between all parties; we praise the positive dialogue between the parties concerned, employers and workers.  We urge employers not to reduce wages unless they use all other means, including negotiation with the workers,” he said.

Companies that are fully or partially affected due to Covid-19 measures must provide proof before implementing such decisions.

The Ministry is currently negotiating with 15 companies that are responding positively.

The majority of these companies know that the rights of the national workforce shall be safeguarded, but there are other companies that have not complied, he added.





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