Oman declares third wave of Covid-19 as cases reach daily high for 2021

The Ministry of Health reported 728 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday

22 Jan 2009, Oman --- View of the harbor, waterfront and skyline of Mutrah in Muscat, the capital of the sultanate of Oman. --- Image by © Jochen Tack/arabianEye/Corbis
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Oman said it was in the middle of a third wave of Covid-19 infections as new cases on Monday reached a daily high for 2021.

Officials blamed a lack of interest in vaccines for the recent surge.

“We are now at the third wave of coronavirus with numbers of infection increasing,” Dr Mohammed Al Hosni, undersecretary of health at the Ministry of Health, told Oman television on Monday.

"We need more people to come forward to take vaccines.

"They should not be worried about side effects. The vaccination is very safe."

The Ministry of Health reported 728 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, taking the tally of infections in the sultanate to 151,528.

It also reported seven coronavirus-related deaths, raising the number of mortalities to 1,629.

Seventy-two people were admitted to hospital during the past 24 hours, taking the number of inpatients to 356, including 104 in intensive care.

In an attempt to encourage the vaccine uptake , the Dhofar region began at-home vaccinations on Monday.

“It is very justified that the Ministry of Health should visit homes to vaccinate people. This is the only way to speed up the vaccination process since we have a lot of people who choose not to turn up at the vaccination centres for fear of side effects,” Dr Samiya Al Ajmi, of Al Nahdha Hospital, said.

The sultanate began its inoculation campaign with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines on December 7 and has so far inoculated 30,000 people.

But some Omanis said home visits would not necessarily encourage them to take the vaccine.

"I would not take the vaccine if they come to my home. It is really up to me to do it or not. I would take it when I am sure about the side effects but not in the near future," said Qassim Al Shanfari, 67, a retired teacher in Salalah.

Other Omanis, however, welcomed the decision.

"I like the idea to be vaccinated in the comfort of my own home. Besides, I am too busy and I don't have time to visit the health centre. I think this will work well for people like me," Harith Al Maani, 42, a business consultant in Muscat, told The National.

The second phase of vaccinations began this month with 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arriving from India's western city of Pune, where it was made under licence by the Serum Institute of India. It has also ordered 200,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, expected to arrive next month.

In a nationwide campaign, Oman targets to vaccinate a quarter of the population by end of July.