Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

Oman records 1,000 Covid-19 deaths as hospitals struggle with surge in infections

Parents worry about sending children back to school amid rising cases

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a passenger for a PCR coronavirus test at Muscat International Airport in the Omani capital. AFP
A medical worker collects a swab sample from a passenger for a PCR coronavirus test at Muscat International Airport in the Omani capital. AFP

One thousand people are now dead from the coronavirus pandemic in Oman as its hospitals struggle to cope with the rate of new infections, the Ministry of Health reported.

On Wednesday, hospitals recorded 817 new infections and 10 deaths from the pandemic.

The total number of cases in the country is 103,465, with 91,329 recoveries.

A total of 554 patients have been admitted to hospital with infections, of whom 211 are in the intensive care.

“The hospitals are nearing capacity and some hospitals need assistance to cope with new cases," said the Minister of Health, Dr Ahmed Al Saidi.

"People continue to ignore the pandemic rules or adhere to safety regulations, which is the reason for the new infections."

"Gatherings must stop and good people must say no when they are invited to one of these illegal parties."

Those hosting parties risk a fine of 1,500 rials ($3,897) and each person attending will be fined100 rials.

The Health Ministry opened a 300-bed field hospital last week for Covid-19 patients at an old air base next to Muscat airport, to cope with new cases.

A testing centre has also been opened next to the airport for travellers and the public.

With the new surge in infections, parents are concerned about sending their children to schools.

But the Ministry of Education has announced it will start blended learning on November 1, to let pupils attend school in person and take online classes, on alternate weeks.

“With the current situation of new cases, how can we send our children back to school?” asked Safa Al Khairi, 32, a mother of two.

"I said I would not allow my own children to attend classes in person because I know it is impossible for children so young to adhere to social distancing."

But some parents support the decision to return to classrooms because of their office commitments.

“Online education is difficult for us because my husband and I are working," said Aisha Al Hadi, 36, a banker.

"We cannot leave two children under 10 alone at home with computers. First, it is against the law. Second, they would not study but play the whole day."

A family who lost a loved one this week to the coronavirus said they were going through a week of “agony".

Samia Mansoor, 42, lost her husband, 44, last Thursday in Muscat. He was fighting the infection in intensive care.

The couple have four children between the ages of 8 and 17. He was a civil engineer for a building company in Muscat.

“I am not sure who to blame," Ms Mansoor said. "Irresponsible people who know they are infected but still go out? The society, or just no one?

"My children and I are going through pain and agony after we lost a person we dearly loved."

Updated: October 8, 2020 01:33 AM

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