Coronavirus: Oman's daily infections drop by more than 60% after lockdown

Ban on travel was imposed from July 24 as Covid-19 cases spiked

An empty road is pictured with the Muscat Opera House in the Omani capital Muscat amid a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 on July 27, 2020.  / AFP / MOHAMMED MAHJOUB
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Oman’s daily increases in Covid-19 cases have dropped by more than 60 per cent after a two-week lockdown that ended on Friday, the health ministry said.

The ministry reported 1,380 new infections on July 24, a day before the committee overseeing Oman's pandemic response banned travel between regions and imposed daily movement restrictions between 7pm to 6am.

On Saturday, a day after the travel ban was lifted, the health ministry reported 290 new cases over the previous 24 hours.

“We see now an encouraging result after the end of the regional travel lockdown, with more than 60 per cent reduction in infected cases. However, we still need people to take the usual precautions and keep to the rules,” the ministry said.

The evening restrictions were extended for a week until August 15 but now begin at 9pm and end at 5am.

The southern Dhofar region remained cut off from the rest of the country for now because “the number of infections there is still a concern”, according to the ministry.

Dhofar, home to the resort city of Salalah, is the most popular tourist destination in Oman. The region's loss of tourism income this summer is estimated by the government at 80 million rials (Dh793m). The majority of Dhofar's tourists are domestic visitors, Emiratis and foreigners working in the UAE.

The total number of Covid-19 infections in Oman now stands at 81,357, while seven deaths reported on Saturday raised the sultanate's toll from the pandemic to 509. The number of recoveries rose by 1,401 to 73,481, leaving 494 patients in hospital including 173 in intensive care, health ministry said.

The health ministry figures revealed a recovery rate of 90.3 per cent among Covid-19 patients in Oman, far higher than the world average.
Globally, 12,615,278 patients had recovered out of 19,634,248 cases as of Saturday evening, according to a tally by Worldometer, giving a recovery rate of 64 per cent.

About 600 medical staff have contracted the virus so far, but the country has flown in retired doctors and nurses from abroad, mainly from India, to help fight the pandemic.

Oman's latest infection figures reflect a downward trend seen among GCC states in recent weeks.

Saudi Arabia, which has the highest number of cases in the Gulf region outside of Iran, reported 1,469 new cases on Saturday, down from daily figures of 2,000-plus two weeks ago. The Saudi health ministry also said 37 patients had died since Friday, taking its Covid-19 tally to 287,262 cases and 3,130 deaths.

Recoveries rose by 1,492 to 250,440, with 33,692 cases still active, the ministry said.

Kuwait's tally of cases rose by 472 to 71,199, while the number of deaths rose by three to 474.

The Kuwait health ministry said 320 of the new cases were Kuwaitis and 152 expatriates.

Ministry spokesman Abdullah Al Sanad said there were 7,919 Covid-19 patients receiving medical treatment including 125 in intensive care. The number of recoveries rose by 476 to 62,806.

In Qatar, the health ministry reported 267 more cases and two more fatalities since Friday, raising its coronavirus death toll to 182.

The ministry said 296 patients recovered, raising the total recoveries to 109,438 and leaving the country with 3,030 active cases including 78 in intensive care.

Bahrain's figures for Saturday were not available but the kingdom reported 418 new cases, 331 recoveries and three deaths late on Friday.

Meanwhile Iran’s daily death toll fell to the lowest in six weeks at 132, with the number of new cases at a month-low of 2,125. Iran now has 18,264 fatalities from 324,692 infections since it reported its first cases in late February.