Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 October 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Oman to open field hospital as infections spike

The country’s daily caseload has almost trebled since the start of September

A man wearing his face mask incorrectly sells dates at Mutrah Souq in the Omani capital Muscat on September 18, 2020. AFP
A man wearing his face mask incorrectly sells dates at Mutrah Souq in the Omani capital Muscat on September 18, 2020. AFP

Oman will open a new hospital dedicated to Covid-19 patients next week to cope with the influx of new infections, the ministry of health said on Monday.

The 300-bed centre is located in the old Muscat Airport. Next door, the government has already built accommodation for passengers who must enter quarantine when they arrive in the country.

On Monday, Oman reported 576 new infections and seven deaths, taking the total number of cases in the country to 94,051, while 85,781 people have recovered from the virus. The total number of Covid-19 deaths has reached 853.

Infections in the country fell to fewer than 200 cases a day in the first week of September but despite the resurgence, most people in the sultanate no longer consider the pandemic to be a threat.

Muscat’s old airport is adjacent to the new one. Oman has already reported that it would open the airport from October 1 but passengers flying in would need a medical certificate declaring them free of the coronavirus.

The ministry of health said on Monday it expected to immunise some staff by the end of this year.

“In the beginning and because of its limitation in numbers, the vaccines would only be available to frontline workers, including medical staff, the police and the army,” a Ministry of Health statement said.

Last week, an Indian nurse was the first frontline worker in Oman to die of Covid-19.

With cases rising, the authorities issued a warning they will close shops and restaurants that break safety regulations.

Authorities penalised more than 25 businesses in the past week and issued cautions to many more. They also fined shoppers in malls for failing to practise social distancing. Some vendors were fined for not wearing masks.

Health inspectors visited more than 500 business premises in the past week to make sure shop assistants and their managers were following the rules.

Updated: September 21, 2020 09:14 PM

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