Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 27 September 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Indian nurse becomes Oman’s first frontline worker killed by Covid-19

The nurse, 37, from Kerala died this week after suffering from the coronavirus for the past month

Indian citizens living in Oman have their body temperature measured at a terminal in Muscat International Airport before boarding a repatriation flight from the Omani capital, on May 12, 2020. AFP
Indian citizens living in Oman have their body temperature measured at a terminal in Muscat International Airport before boarding a repatriation flight from the Omani capital, on May 12, 2020. AFP

The first medical worker in Oman has died of coronavirus, the health ministry said on Tuesday as case numbers rose again when lockdown measures were eased.

An Indian nurse from the state of Kerala, identified as Blessy Sam, 37, died on Tuesday after battling with Covid-19 for the past month. She was infected while on duty in a government-owned hospital in the eastern region.

She is survived by her husband, George Sam, and two young children.

Health Minister Dr Ahmed Al Saeedi expressed his “deep condolences to her family for her selfless work and sacrifice”.

Mr Sam said his wife knew the risk involved in working on the frontline battling the pandemic, but she went to work every day without any complaints.

“She saw her work, not as a duty but part of a humanitarian gesture, and until her last days, Blessy never regretted being a nurse or working with corona infected patients,” Mr Sam said.

Coronavirus around the Middle East

For the past 10 days, Oman has reported a sharp rise in cases with several spikes above 400 new infections. The sultanate brought new infections down from a July 14 peak of 2,164 new cases to zero between July 31 and August 4. But cases soared again on August 6, with more than 1,200 new infections and several days since have recorded new cases in the hundreds. On Tuesday, Oman recorded 438 more infections and seven deaths.

The health ministry blamed the rise in cases on people for “relaxing and thinking corona is under control”.

The total number of infected people is 90,660, while 84,113 have recovered and 797 people have died from Covid-19 so far.

While Oman followed many in shutting borders and implementing strict rules on movement, it has been easing restrictions and is set to allow foreign travel again. But with the new rise in cases, some are asking whether the rules have been eased too fast.

“Perhaps we should not have been hasty in easing up the quarantine,” said Salim Al Khamis, 41, a father of two primary school children. “Shopping malls and restaurants are crowded. They already said the schools will be opened in November [but] the number of cases are going up again.”

Updated: September 15, 2020 11:25 PM

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