Monday, May 27, 2013

#Coronavirus Oman - Govt unveils plan to combat nCoV

May 27, 2013

Muscat: The Ministry of Health (MoH) has made elaborate arrangements to fight the novel coronavirus (nCoV) infections in Oman.

At a recent meeting, it was decided that a task force should be established for 'case management' and to finalise algorithms for 'contact management' and 'infection prevention and control'.

An action plan will be prepared for 'risk communication'.

"We had decided to hold daily meetings at DCDSC since May 19, 2013, to take stock of the situation and initiate appropriate actions," said a senior official of the MoH.

Though there are no recorded cases of novel coronavirus (nCoV) infections in Oman, MoH has decided to take precautions routinely in all health care settings for all patients.

"The standard precautions include hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment to avoid direct contact with patients' blood, body fluids, secretions (including respiratory secretions), and non-intact skin," said an official.

In a circular, the MoH has urged doctors and nurses to take adequate precautions when providing care in close contact with patients with respiratory illness symptoms like coughing or sneezing.

"They should use eye protection, because secretions sprays may occur. Other precautions include prevention of injuries from needles or sharp instruments; safe waste management; cleaning and disinfection of equipment; and cleaning of the environment,"
said the circular.

For droplet precautions, the MoH has advised the use of a surgical mask if working within a metre of the patient.

 "Place patients in single rooms, or group together patients with the same etiological diagnosis. If an etiological diagnosis is not possible, group patients with similar clinical diagnosis and, based on epidemiological risk factors, ensure a spatial separation of at least 1 metre.

Limit patient movements and ensure that patients wear medical masks when outside their rooms,"
said the circular.

As precaution against airborne bacteria, the circular has urged health care workers performing aerosol-generating procedures to use personal protective equipment such as gloves, long-sleeved gowns, eye protection, and particulate respirators (N95 or equivalent).

"Whenever possible, use adequately ventilated single rooms when performing aerosol-generating procedures," added the circular.

Earlier, Dr Abdallah Assaedi, representative of WHO in Muscat, said that the surveillance system in Oman is functioning very well, and the Sultanate is well-equipped and prepared to capture, notify, and act on any case of suspected infection.

"I am closely following all the notifications that reach WHO, and I see no coronavirus cases in Oman."

According to WHO, a new SARS-like virus has emerged in the Middle East since September 2012. It causes a severe acute respiratory infection, and it is feared that the virus could lead to a global pandemic similar to SARS in 2003.

As of May 22, 2013, 44 laboratory-confirmed cases and 22 deaths have been attributed to the novel coronavirus infection.

Oman has conducted more than 53 tests to detect nCoV  in the Sultanate from October 2012.

While most of the tests were conducted in Royal Hospital, tests were also conducted in Sultan Qaboos University Hospital for patients from far flung areas like Ibri and Nizwa.

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