Oman fully-pre­pared to tackle nCoV: Screen­ing all en­try points

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE - Our Correspond­ent

As China and other coun­tries grap­ple to con­tain the Novel Coro­n­avirus (2019-nCoV) out­break, Oman’s Min­istry of Health (MoH), rep­re­sented by the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Diseases Con­trol & Sur­veil­lance has asked all health­care in­sti­tu­tions and bor­der cross­ing of­fi­cials to be vig­i­lant.

H E Dr Ahmed bin Mo­hammed bin Obaid al Sa’eedi, Min­is­ter of Health, on Wed­nes­day met the un­der­sec­re­taries and di­rec­tor gen­er­als of the Min­istry of Health to dis­cuss the lat­est de­vel­op­ments re­gard­ing 2019-nCoV at the min­istry head­quar­ters.

The meet­ing re­viewed the pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures taken by the sul­tanate to tackle the virus out­break as well as dis­cussed the pre­pared­ness and emer­gency plans for all en­try points.

The ne­ces­sity for the readi­ness of pub­lic health emer­gency plans across the sul­tanate’s gov­er­norates and the im­por­tance of co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the health au­thor­i­ties was also high­lighted.

H E Dr Sa’eedi also stressed the on­go­ing co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the Min­istry of Health and the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the GCC health min­is­ters.

Mean­while, MoH said it is mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion and asked all health­care in­sti­tu­tions to screen for any case and raise pub­lic aware­ness about the dis­ease.

In­for­ma­tion has been dis­trib­uted to all health­care fa­cil­i­ties to be vig­i­lant and mon­i­tor peo­ple re­turn­ing from China es­pe­cially those de­vel­op­ing fever and cough within two weeks of leav­ing China, the min­istry stated.

‘We urge cit­i­zens and res­i­dents to ad­here to the pre­ven­tive mea­sures, fol­low healthy habits while trav­el­ling to the af­fected ar­eas and visit the near­est health­care in­sti­tu­tion in case of any symp­toms with dis­clo­sure of the travel his­tory,’ MoH stated.

Right now epi­demi­o­log­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tions are still on­go­ing in China to iden­tify the animal reser­voir of 2019-nCoV. Con­tin­ued on

‘To date, there is no vac­cine for this virus and no ef­fec­tive drugs for the treat­ment. It may take sev­eral years be­fore a vac­cine can be made. Sup­port­ive care for peo­ple in­fected can be very ef­fec­tive.’

Some stud­ies have shown that the new virus shares some sim­i­lar­i­ties to the coro­n­avirus found in bats, MoH stated.

The min­istry ex­plained that the trans­mis­sion of the virus from one per­son to an­other hap­pens through close con­tact with an in­fected per­son, for in­stance within the fam­ily, at work places or in health­care fa­cil­i­ties and con­tam­i­nated sur­faces there­fore hand wash­ing is an im­por­tant pre­ven­tive mea­sure.

‘The most com­mon symp­toms in­clude, fever, cough, short­ness of breath and dif­fi­culty in breath­ing. In the most se­vere cases, in­fec­tion can cause pneu­mo­nia, se­vere acute res­pi­ra­tory syn­drome, kid­ney fail­ure and even death. Peo­ple with old age and un­der­ly­ing dis­ease are at the risk of com­pli­ca­tion and death.’

MoH also rec­om­mended health­care work­ers to use ap­pro­pri­ate per­sonal in­fec­tion pre­ven­tion and con­trol mea­sures.

(Sup­plied photo)

H E Dr Ahmed bin Mo­hammed bin Obaid al Sa’eedi (third from right) at a re­view meet­ing

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