MOH Press Release of His Excellency Minister of Health
MOH Press Release of His Excellency Minister of Health2/3/2020
The current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported from China, on 31 December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) on 30 of January 2020 declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern.
A cumulative 87,137 COVID-19 cases were reported worldwide, including 2977 deaths (3.4%), according to WHO latest Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report.
The number of infected people outside the People’s Republic of China has significantly increased over the past two weeks as (1160) infections have been confirmed in 58 countries. South Korea and Iran are at the forefront of countries in number of infected people.
Oman has registered six confirmed cases of coronavirus, where two of them have recovered fully.
The Ministry of Health has started preparation for COVID-19 response since the announcement of the disease in China. Most significant actions that were taken by the Sultanate are developing guidelines and policies on preventing the spread of the disease in the country as well on managing any suspected cases. Furthermore, healthcare professionals were trained on handling the disease, increasing the competencies and preparedness of the health institutions to address epidemics particularly regarding infection control and surveillance, in addition to providing personal prevention tools for the healthcare workers.
Moreover, the electronic epidemiological surveillance system has been updated to monitor the confirmed cases as well the quarantined people, in addition to improving the capacity of the MOH’s Central Public Health Laboratory, equipping it with the necessary diagnostic reagents.
Furthermore, public health proceedings at the various points of entry (air, sea, and land) have been strengthened, as self-notification are applied, symptomatic people are examined, home or institutional quarantine is applied for travelers coming from COVID-19 endemic countries.
The Ministry of Health in coordination with the Royal Oman Police, and Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance, operators of airports, ports, and ground border crossings worked on suspension of direct air flights from endemic areas and implementing containment measures and infection prevention and control at the borders.
With the registration of the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Sultanate on 24 February 2020, the epidemic level classification for public health emergency preparedness and response rises to the third category, which is registering imported cases from outside the country. The priorities of this phase are in preventing secondary and community transmissions, in addition to identifying arrivals coming from COVID-19 endemic countries for quarantine. The ministry further strengthened health procedures at all points of entry and implementation of institutional or home quarantine in all the Sultanate Governorates, based on assessment case by case. As of March 2, 2020, a number of 2367 persons are currently under the quarantine procedures including 49 in the institutional quarantine and 2318 in home quarantine. Furthermore, the Ministry has developed a comprehensive guide on the institutional and home quarantine and provided the required medical consult and care for the quarantined individuals.
In addition, the MOH Call Center (24441999) has been activated around-the-clock along with introducing hotlines in all Governorates to ensure communicating with the citizens and residents especially those under quarantine or to answer questions about the disease generally.
The Ministry also promotes the preparations of the government and private health institutions to be fully prepared for the epidemic, as well as raising readiness of these institutions in order to handle any possible increase in the number of infected people.
The most important interventions made by the Ministry are health education and raising public awareness through the mass media (TV, newspapers and radio) and social media. Moreover, contact is made with various civil communities through the municipal councils in the governorates, activating the health committees at the Wilayates level and the educational activities in the civil associations and sports clubs.
In this stage, the Ministry focuses on raising health awareness among the citizens and residents, particularly prevent infection in the community by following the personal prevention methods such as washing hands, good manners when coughing and sneezing, avoiding travel to the endemic areas and adhere to the quarantine procedures.
Direct flights to China and Iran have been suspended, as well as the tourism flights from Italy. The quarantine is being applied for all travelers coming from China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. The quarantine has been lifted for the travelers coming from Singapore and Japan.
The Ministry is in direct contact with the global, regional and gulf health organizations and authorities including the World Health Organization, the GCC Health Council and Secretariat-General to monitor the epidemic situation of the Novel Coronavirus disease 2019.
MOH is following-up on the COVID-2019 latest developments, reviewing and assessing the level of risk to the Sultanate periodically based on any new updates, as well as contacting the other authorities of the health emergency.
The Ministry urges all citizens and residents to take the information from the MOH official sources and not to pay attention to the rumors.