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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
MUSCAT — Amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases in Oman, Health Minister Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al-Saidi, who is also a member of the country’s supreme committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, has said that “potential lockdown steps will be the last option to deal with the pandemic situation” and that the panel hopes not to go that far.
“It is our duty to protect ourselves and society through strict adherence to precautionary measures,” he added.
The minister made the statement during a press conference held by the COVID-19 supreme committee on Monday, the Oman News Agency (ONA ) reported.
The press conference, he explained, was prompted by the recent surge in the number of infected persons admitted at intensive care units and hospital wards. The numbers doubled in less than two weeks. “This is a highly alarming and disillusioning indicator,” the minister observed.
He added that the closure of the sultanate’s airports is “under study and deliberation” by the supreme committee, which, he hoped, would not be compelled to re-lock Omani airports for international flights “because that will cause immense social and economic losses”.
So far, Oman has registered six confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant, notorious for their swift propagation, said Dr. Ahmed, noting that the most globally common among the new variants is the British strain, but, he affirmed, the sultanate has advanced facilities to detect it, through all labs — whether at the health ministry or Sultan Qaboos University or private sector universities.
The number of ICU and hospital inpatients soared to 102 from its record-low level of 51 by Jan. 21, 2021, the minister pointed out.
On Sunday, the supreme committee decided to keep the Sultanate's land borders closed for one more week till 6 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2021.
The move was based on recommendations of the specialized technical team, which is following up the spread of the new COVID-19 strain in the country, in order to protect all individuals of society against the disease.
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