Oman orders third batch of vaccine doses as Covid cases climb


Oman has ordered 200,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson amid rising concern as infections continue to increase, the health ministry said.

“The situation is worrying and painful because since mid-January the [infection] numbers started to escalate. Intensive care units are under pressure again,” Dr Ahmed Al Saeedi said on Thursday.

The minister also said beaches and parks would remain closed indefinitely.

“People still don’t grasp the concept of Covid-19 and they don’t see what is going around the world. Some of them even refuse to get vaccination for reasons we don’t understand, despite our assurance that vaccination is safe and good for them,” Dr Al Saeedi said.

A billboard urges the public to sign up for the voluntary vaccine outside Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Manama. The tiny island nation has put technology at the heart of its response, using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and chatbots to deliver test results and information. Mazen Mahdi / AFP

The Ministry of Health reported 288 cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, bringing the total in the sultanate so far to 140,588. Four people died from the virus on Thursday, raising the death toll to 1,562. The number of patients being treated in hospital rose by 29 to 192 over the previous 24 hours, including 68 in intensive care units.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be offered to people below the age of 66 and school teachers, according to the health ministry.

The first and second batches of vaccines received by Oman were only available to people over 65 years of age, people with underlying medical issues and medical staff.

The sultanate began its inoculation campaign with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines on December 7, reaching 30,000 people.

The second phase of vaccinations kicked off this month with 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, made under licence by the Serum Institute of India.

Oman on Thursday imposed a 15-day ban on entry for travellers from 10 countries to curb the spread of the coronavirus, in particular certain mutated strains.

The countries on the list are: Sudan, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.

Oman introduced a seven-day mandatory hotel quarantine for all arrivals from February 15.

The national

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