Oman on Monday reported no Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours for the first time this year in a development that officials told The National will boost a call made last week for the sultanate to be taken off travel red lists.
The Health Ministry, however, warned the public to continue following safety precautions to keep the number of infections low.
The ministry reported 58 new cases in the past 24 hours, much lower than the more than 2,000 daily cases recorded in June.
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The total number of infections registered in Oman has reached 303,163, with 4,089 deaths since the pandemic started in late 2019.
“We would like to caution members of the public, while we reported no deaths today for the first time this year, to take the usual precautions of social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and wearing masks at all times,” Oman Television reported the ministry as saying.
Last week, Health Minister Dr Ahmed Al Saeedi held a press conference with foreign diplomats in Muscat to ask their countries to remove Oman from travel red lists.
“We are making huge progress in containing the coronavirus and we can see it is working because the infection numbers have significantly gone down,” he told the diplomats. “We would like the countries who have put Oman on the red list to remove it.”
Despite the minister's efforts, so far, no country that has placed Oman on its red list, including the UK, has removed it.
But a ministry official said he was confident that countries would be encouraged to do so following the registration of zero deaths on Monday.
“As a community, we are working very hard to take all the necessary precautions to control the virus,” Health Ministry spokesman Ahmed Alraisi told The National.
“Infections have come down by more than 80 per cent since the beginning of the year to reach this level we see today. I am confident Oman will come off of the red list of those countries very soon.”
Oman has already vaccinated 2.3 million people, or about 50 per cent of its population, with at least one dose of vaccine and it has opened even more vaccination stations all over the country.
From September 1, no one is allowed to enter public indoor spaces — including workplaces, malls, schools and universities — unless they have received at least one dose of vaccine.
The country also opened the land border with the UAE on September 1 after it was closed several times due to Covid-19.