Sultanate projects readiness to combat Covid-19

Muscat: The Sultanate projected its readiness for the current Covid-19 by citing previous situations that the country faced and handled efficiently.

Addressing first online press conference of the Supreme Committee tasked with tackling Covid 19, on Thursday, Dr Ahmed al Saidi, Minister of Health, cited the Sultanate’s cumulative experience in dealing with other pandemics previously.

“The Sultanate has a great cumulative experience in dealing with pandemics, as it has gone through several pandemics previously, such as the happenings in 2009 and 2013,” said Dr Al Saidi.

In the press conference done through video conferencing, he mentioned that till Wednesday more than 5,000 samples were examined so far and there were 36 inpatients out of 231, while 57 cases recovered.

He, however, termed the situation “difficult, but we can reduce infection by 60 per cent if we follow safety procedures and health instructions.”

Al Saidi made it clear that “the pandemic affects people of all age groups, there is no exception. The rate of infection among men is 53 per cent and 47 per cent among women so everyone should be careful.”

The minister stated that law punishes those who don’t adhere to social distancing, describing this act as “a crime” and called upon everyone to help in protecting the country.

About Mattrah isolation he mentioned, “Putting Muttrah under quarantine is because of the prevalence of societal transmission, which is the transmission of the virus to people without contacting with infected persons and not related to travel. Be sure that the Committee will not take any decisions without an extensive study of the whole subject.”

Dr Saif al Abri, DG of Diseases Surveillance and Control, indicated that there is an epidemiological curve done by the Ministry of Health. “This curve indicates that if we do not follow safety guidelines and social distancing as required, then numbers of Covid-19 cases would reach 1,495. During the peak we expect to reach more than 20,000 cases with 64 deaths per day.”

Stressing that, despite this, all should not rely on speculated figures as the situation in the Sultanate until now is reassuring, and we are ready with qualified national cadres and advanced equipment.

Dr Mohammed al Hosni, Undersecretary of Health Affairs, talked about the ministry’s work scheme. “The ministry has developed a framework plan to deal with this pandemic, and it is proceeding according to considered stages,” he said.

“Isolation of Muttrah is as per planning and all measures have been taken to ensure the availability of food and drug supplies for the residents of the area.  We are also coordinating with the concerned parties for smooth movements of crucial health cases like births and kidney related issues,” Al Hosni said.

Hassan al Dheeb, Undersecretary Ministry of Commerce and Industry, confirmed the availability of sufficient food stuff in the Sultanate. Addressing the press conference he said that the Sultanate was importing food directly through some 36 ports from 40 countries around the world, while it stopped exports of some products due to the Sultanate’s needs at this time and to ensure availability of enough stock in the local markets for the citizens and residents.

He assured that the government provided big warehouses for importers to use for free as a step to join efforts in the interest of the country.

Al Dheeb talked about online shopping which is to be available soon in Mawaleh Market for Vegetables and Fruits after similar experiment succeeded in the fish wholesale market.

“Online shopping will reduce the crowd and go in line with the measures taken to combat spread of Covid-19,” he said.

Brigadier Hassan al Mujaini, Head of Moral Guidance, stressed that all security and military agencies play their role in activating the closure plans. “Movement points have been activated between governorates in coordination with the rest of the relevant authorities. We take into account movement of workers in the vital sectors as well as all food and medical supplies will be facilitated to be delivered to ensures that the the isolation plan goes as planned.”

Confirming that Oman will pass through this pandemic with a strong will, Dr Abdullah al Harrasi, Charmian of PART mentioned, “The Sultanate is going through an extraordinary situation that creates new situations and requires caution and honesty at the same time.”

He highlighted the role of mainstream and social media in spreading awareness and passing useful as well as educational messages to their audience.