Oman stops coronavirus testing to make room for severe cases

Oman stops coronavirus testing to make room for severe cases
Oman stops coronavirus testing to make room for severe cases

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Oman's Ministry of Health said on Monday that government hospitals would no longer test for coronavirus as medical staff need to concentrate on severe cases of the virus after the number of deaths increased by 20 per cent in the last two weeks.

On Monday, Oman recorded 1,053 new infected cases with 9 deaths. The total number of infected people has reached 77,058. A total of 393 died from the virus and the official statistics show that nearly 80 of them died in the last two weeks from the coronavirus.

“People showing symptoms of Covid-19 will isolate themselves for ten days, and coronavirus tests in government hospitals will be reserved only for medical staff and hospitalised patients,” the Ministry of Health said.

The Ministry of Health added that people who suspect having coronavirus would need to go to private hospitals for testing. A test in a private hospital costs 70 rials (Dh693).

The Ministry of Health did not elaborate further but medical experts say that government hospitals are overwhelmed with a large number of people asking for testing on a daily basis.

“With many new infected cases that exceed a thousand a day, the government hospitals are overwhelmed with people who think got the virus when most of them have a common flu. Medical staff need to concentrate on severe cases already in hospital,” said Dr Fatma Al Ajmi, a retired virologist and a medical practitioner.

But the decision to stop testing in government hospitals will hurt low paid expatriate workers who cannot afford to do testing in private hospitals.

“The test in a private hospital would cost half of my monthly wages and my company would not pay for it. The government used to do it free of charge,” Indian national Ganeshan Ramniklal, 29, a supermarket assistant in Muscat, said.

The Ministry of Health said there are 552 people in government hospitals treated with coronavirus while 177 are in intensive care suffering from the virus.

Minister of Health Dr Ahmed Al Saidi said Oman was in touch with “Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, to obtain 700,000 doses of Coronavirus vaccine once it is produced.”

Oman on July 25 imposed a nationwide curfew from 7pm to 6am that would last until August 8. It has also banned people travelling from one region to another to contain the spread of the virus.

Updated: July 27, 2020 07:32 PM

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