Oman steps up nCoV awareness campaign
Omani schools to reopen as per schedule; workshop in Muscat attended by over 100 healthcare workers
Thousands of children will return after a three-week winter holiday as Omani schools reopen on Sunday as scheduled. Health authorities have stepped up awareness campaigns on Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) educating teachers and students on how to be safe.
There were, however, some queries that whether the reopening day [February 9] would be postponed over fears of China virus outbreak. “As planned, schools will reopen on Sunday. There is no postponement of reopening date till now,” a Ministry of Education official said.
MoH takes the lead
The Ministry of Health (MoH) in cooperation with other institutions has taken the lead to create awareness. The Royal Hospital’s medical staff, represented by the Infection Control Department, has organised counselling programmes for students in several educational institutions.
‘The aim is to raise awareness on public safety and preventive measures,’ The Royal Hospital said in a statement.
Follow safe hygiene practices
People have been advised to follow simple hygiene practices.
“Wash hands with soap often. Please seek medical attention if you are not feeling well or have developed flu-like symptoms. In addition, it is better to drink lots of water to keep the body hydrated,” Dr Sulaiman al Shuraiqi, senior specialist, Public Health, MoH, told Muscat Daily.
Dr Niren Sachdeva from Nile Clinic, Nizwa said that if anyone is suffering from high-grade fever or pneumonia, experiencing body aches, pains and shortness of breath, sneezing, cough and mild common cold, it is best to visit the nearest health centre or a doctor. “Avoid contact with any person having such symptoms. Even if there’s a mere suspicion about suffering from the disease, it’s best to seek medical help as early as possible.
“Parents are advised that if the child has even mild symptoms, it’s better not to send him/her to school and seek medical advice immediately.”
When asked if there is a need to wear masks in Oman as a precautionary measure, Dr Shuraiqi said, “There is no need to do so as no case has been reported. And if it so happens, then we will look at the geographical area where the infection originated and only people of that region may be asked to put on masks.”
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in Muscat has been organising workshops to raise awareness.
On Tuesday, over 100 male and female healthcare workers from different institutions attended a workshop. ‘It discussed the global epidemiological situation, Oman’s preparedness and the response mechanisms at health institutions,’ MoH stated.
Shaikha al Ganaini, Acting Director General of DGHS - Muscat, affirmed the importance of the workshop, which was to review Oman’s preparedness.
Oman’s embassy issues statement
Oman’s embassy in Beijing has confirmed the return of most Omani students studying in
China. ‘We are in contact with the rest of them to ensure their return,’ the embassy stated.
Rise in death toll
The new coronavirus which appeared late December has claimed at least 425 lives, infected more than 20,630 people in China, and spread to more than two dozen countries.
Beijing, China - Chinese President Xi Jinping called on all officials to quickly work together to contain a deadly new virus at a rare meeting of top leaders, saying the outcome would directly impact social stability in the country.
The effort to contain the virus directly affects people’s health, China’s economic and social stability, and the country’s process of opening up, he told a meeting of the Communist Party’s powerful Politburo Standing Committee on Monday.
Leaders also urged officials ‘to achieve the targets of economic and social development this year’ and ‘promote stable consumer spending’.
It was the second meeting of China’s senior-most leaders to handle the crisis in recent days, a rare occurrence over the past few decades. The virus has already claimed more than 400 lives in China and sent its equity markets plunging.
‘The outbreak is a major test of China’s system and capacity for governance, and we must sum up the experience and draw a lesson from it’, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a statement from the meeting.
Xi said the country’s top leaders should be squarely focused on prevention and controlling the spread of the virus. Officials should abandon ‘formalities for formalities’ sake’, he said, adding that those who disobeyed the plans of the central government would be punished.
The meeting resolved to improve China’s emergency response system, improve weaknesses in public health and crackdown on illegal wildlife markets. It also called for improving the production capacity of essential supplies.
Xi had been out of public view for nearly a week as his government battles the deadly epidemic amid concerns over its abilities to contain the virus. He made his last public appearance on January 28 when meeting in Beijing with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, which has declared the coronavirus a ‘public health emergency of international concern’.
Such meetings of China’s top leaders are rare. There were only 20 reported meetings of the committee between 1992 and 2013, half of them urgent and focused on natural disasters or public health emergencies. Since Xi took power they have generally been held once a year, except for special meetings such as those on a deadly 2014 earthquake in Yunnan province and a 2018 gathering to discuss the development of the Xiongan ‘smart’ city.
In recent weeks Xi has overseen extreme containment measures, including quarantining more than 50mn people - roughly equivalent to the population of Spain - and rapidly building two new hospitals.
The moves have come as the virus’ spread fuels concerns at home and abroad about his efforts to centralise power since taking office, with local officials and Beijing pointing fingers over who’s to blame for the spread of the illness.
The outbreak is a major test of China’s system and capacity for governance
Xinhua News Agency
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Photograph for illustrative purpose only
The Huoshenshan hospital after being handed over to army in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on Sunday