Quarter a million COVID-19 tests done, cases close to 60,000

Muscat: Since reporting of the first COVID-19 case in the Sultanate on February 24, some 244,787 tests have been done so far. The Ministry of Health intensified the tests at more than one center, due to which more COVID-19 surfaced.

Only on Monday, 6,173 tests have been done, resulting in 2,164 new cases as the biggest daily toll announced since the beginning of the pandemic outbreak. Among the new cases, 1,572 are Omanis and 592 are residents, taking the total number of positive cases in Oman to 58,179.

The ministry also announced that two people died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll in Oman to 259.

Commenting on these high numbers, Dr Saif al Abri, DG of Diseases Surveillance and Control, mentioned “two-third of the cases in the past few weeks were Omanis. This is because of family gatherings and not complying with safety instructions. The curve is still going up and the virus is spreading fast.”

About testing frequency, he said the positive rate normally soars at the beginning of the week because much of the coronavirus tests take place in private hospitals with the majority of them, if not all, halting testing on weekends. The ministry’s analysis has shown that the number of positive cases usually rises on Mondays.

Speaking to Oman TV, Al Abri mentioned, “As has been announced, 6,173 tests were carried out on Sunday including 2,192 tests carried out in the private sector which were accumulated over the past three days. The nationwide positive rate now stands at 24 per cent and this rate is going up.” Al Abri noted that many private establishments were now sending more workers to undergo testing. Public sector establishments are also sending more people for testing.

Activists on social media expressed concerns over the big jump in Omanis infected with COVID-19 which were small in the beginning. It is worrying.

Dr Mohammed al Wardi said, “To combat the pandemic, the culture of society should change.”

He added that the solution is to tighten penalties and not rely on community awareness, as this is impossible “because we have different cultures and nature,” he explained.

The MoH on Monday also reported that 1,159 new patients recovered from COVID-19 during the past 24 hours, taking the total recoveries to 37, 257 in Oman.

A total of 67 new patients were admitted to the hospital, taking the number of people in hospitals to 519, including 146 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The ministry has called upon everyone to take individual and social responsibility and comply with precautionary measures, especially wearing masks and following social distancing.