Oman had a relatively big swine flu outbreak. With the number of fatalities in the country reaching 16, it is the largest announced number in the Gulf. Schools and universities were supposed to start by September, but were postponed to the mid of October. The biggest festival in the country due in January has already been canceled in fear of the flu.
Most Omani bloggers do not seem to be happy by the coverage provided by the local media and believe that more awareness activities should be carried out, especially as the disease could further spread during the celebrations of Eid ul Fitr, which begins tomorrow. Blogger Hamed Al Ghaithi started a bloggers’ swine flu awareness campaign in which he suggests:
- Urging Omani media to transform into crisis mode that educates people about best practices, personal hygiene, and the recommendation not to shake hands, cheek kiss, or group prayers.
- Urging the government to impose restrictions for attending shopping malls and large social and religious events such as weddings and Eid celebrations.
- Canceling the whole of the first semester of the current academic year, and if the crisis is not mitigated by February, canceling the whole year.
- Launching a campaign for sanitizing public service institutions such as public markets ans schools.
- Monitoring the health status of arriving expatriate employees and putting them in quarantine if they are found to be infected.
Not all of these suggestions can be logically carried out, for example canceling a whole academic year, but it is still nice seeing Omani bloggers brainstorming ideas and spreading the message for taking precautionary measures to minimize the risks of infection.
Blogger Bader Al Hinai reported that the first offline activity in the bloggers campaign against swine flu was to be started today in which some bloggers were supposed to go to a local market to educate people on the proper use of sterilization products. No updates can be found online on how the event went. According to Bader, future events to be held after the holidays are expected to be published soon.