Oman reports record number of Covid-19 deaths at weekend

Health minister says hospitals stretched and home vaccination offered to old and chronically ill

People register to get vaccinated at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in the capital Muscat on June 23, 2021 during the second phase of the national immunisation plan against COVID-19. / AFP / Haitham AL-SHUKAIRI

Oman reported a record number of Covid-19 deaths at the weekend.

Health Minister Dr Ahmed Al Said said the country’s medical system could break down if the influx of patients continued to rise.

On Sunday, the Health Ministry said the sultanate had recorded 119 deaths and 5,517 new infections of the coronavirus in the past three days.

Oman does not release daily updates at the weekend.

"On average, that is almost 40 deaths a day and 1,839 infection cases a day," Hassan Al Shamookhi, a statistician and Covid-19 analyst for the Omani government, told The National.

"This is very high, especially when you consider that it never reached a daily death rate of 40 before this weekend."

Sunday’s figures raised the number of cases detected to 262,059, including 2,967 deaths.

Hospitals had admitted another 214 Covid-19 patients in the previous 24 hours, taking the total number of inpatients to 1,635, of whom 489 were in intensive care.

Dr Al Said said hospitals were being pushed to their limits.

“The health system is exhausted at the moment with coronavirus patients. We do not rule out a total lockdown if this continues any longer,” he told Oman Television.

Dr Al Said said the elderly and people with chronic diseases would no longer be required to go to vaccination clinics.

Instead, they could register to have medical workers immunise them at home.

The news was welcomed by people in the target groups.

"It will help a lot of people in these two categories, like me," Abdulrazak Al Amri, 72, who has severe diabetes, told The National.

“I have always wanted to do the vaccination but I was afraid of queuing up for fear I might get infected while there.

"In my condition, I cannot afford to be out in the presence of a large number of people.”

Oman imposed a curfew for the second time in two months last Sunday, ordering all commercial activities to close between 8pm and 4am, and people to stay indoors during that time.

Beaches, wedding halls, exhibitions, mosques and public parks were closed until further notice.