Oman considers further Covid-19 restrictions as case numbers rise

Country registers 190 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with one death

This picture shows a partial view of the area of Haramil in the Omani capital Muscat on September 18, 2020. (Photo by Haitham AL-SHUKAIRI / AFP)
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Oman is considering implementing stay-at home restrictions if coronavirus cases continue to rise.

"We have so far confirmed six more cases of the Covid-19 variant apart from the 200 suspected cases. We are expecting the results later this week," said Dr Adel Al Wahaibi, director of the epidemiological surveillance department at the country's health ministry.
Dr Wahaibi said tougher restrictions limiting movement were an option if the number of cases continued to increase in the coming days.

“The situation has raised concerns due to the steady increase in number of new hospitalised cases. We will sound the alarm, and a lockdown should not be ruled out, if the number of infections continue to rise,” he said.

Omanis say such a measure would not help to control the spread.

"It is already depressing with all the bad news around and staying indoors," said Khalil Al Fasahi, 34, a grocery shop owner in Muscat.

“The government needs to reinforce social distancing rules and make sure people do not gather illegally on beaches, farms or private homes. That is what pushes the numbers up.”

Oman registered 190 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with one death. Total cases in the country are 136,377, which include 128,255 recoveries and 1,537 deaths. There are 154 patients with the coronavirus in hospitals, of which 50 are being treated in intensive care units.

While the country's land borders are closed, Health Minister Dr Ahmed Al Saeedi said that closing airports would have a deterrent effect on the economy.

"We hope the Supreme Committee will not decide to close the sultanate's airports for international flights, as that will cause a lot of social and economic damage," Dr Al Saeedi said, as reported by Oman Television.

On Monday, Oman extended the closure of land borders for the fourth time. That day, infections surged by 316, the highest number of new cases since December 21.