Oman suspects four cases of new coronavirus strain

Those thought to be infected arrived in the sultanate from the UK

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a passenger for a RT-PCR Coronavirus test at the Muscat international airport in the Omani capital on October 1, 2020.  / AFP / MOHAMMED MAHJOUB
Powered by automated translation

Oman's minister of health said on Tuesday that four people who arrived in the sultanate this week from the UK are suspected to have the new strain of Covid-19.

State television quoted Health Minister Dr Ahmed Al Saeedi saying that tests on the four people who arrived from the UK “could be the new strain of the virus. The tests have not confirmed it, but is under investigation".

Oman closed all its air and land borders on Tuesday for a week, part of new measures to limit the spread of the new strain detected in the UK.

Oman on Tuesday reported 212 new infection cases and one death.

State television said the sultanate will receive the first batch of vaccines manufactured by Pfizer on Thursday and would start inoculations on December 27.

But Dr Al Saeedi ruled out another lockdown in Oman, saying that it was not necessary because the country would start administering vaccinations  early next week.