Sat, 24 Jul 2021

Oman struggles with Covid as hospitals overwhelmed

Robert Besser
17 Jun 2021, 20:51 GMT+10

MUSCAT, Oman: A resurgence in Covid infections in the Gulf state of Oman has resulted in an acute shortage of hospital beds, according to health officials.

Over 90 percent of the nation's hospital beds are now occupied, forcing hospitals to turn away patients, local media reported.

The main Covid field hospital in Muscat, the capital, has surpassed 90 percent occupancy. Also, its intensive care beds are completely full, according to the state-run Omani News Agency.

Additionally, smaller hospitals throughout the country report operating beyond capacity.

The surge in infections follows a slow rollout of vaccinations, the introduction of a new Covid variant and a reduction in restrictions.

"People are waiting to receive beds," said Dr. Nabil bin Muhammed al-Lawait, the Muscat field hospital director.

"There is great pressure on hospital beds ... and a shortage of medical staff," he added, as quoted by the state media.

Many of the new patients are suffering from severe Covid symptoms, particularly problems in breathing.

The number of monthly cases of Covid infections has nearly tripled in the past month, with authorities recording 1,800 infections and 19 deaths from the virus, as of Monday.

Doctors told Omani state TV earlier this week that the fast-spreading virus variants first seen in India, Britain and South Africa, are now found among Omanis.

After Omanis began receiving the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine the government loosened some virus restrictions earlier this month, along with reopening land borders, permitting mosques to allow up to 100 worshipers, and restaurants and cafes to seat up to half capacity.

However, there has been resistance to receiving vaccinations among the population, particularly in remote provinces.

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