Contact tracing in the context of COVID-19: a case study from Oman

  1. Abdullah Al Manji 1,

  2. Tahoun 2,

  3. Franck Chi Amabo 2,

  4. Mohamed Alabri 3,

  5. Lamia Mahmoud 3,

  6. Badar Al Abri 3,

  7. Taha Aboushady 2,

  8. Jean Jabbour 3,

  9. Nabeth 2,

  10. Mahmoud Sadek 2

  11. Correspondence to Dr Mahmoud Sadek;


In April 2020, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Oman, a high-income country in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), implemented a robust contact tracing (CT) system for COVID-19. To capitalise on Oman’s experience, EMRO has developed a case study presenting the methodology used to conduct the CT activities, main functions of the system, challenges encountered, lessons learnt, and the way forward. To develop the case study, a key informant interview was conducted virtually with the CT focal point in the MoH, using a semistructured questionnaire adapted from the WHO questionnaire for the assessment of CT activities. The Oman MoH launched a CT system based on three complementary digital tools: Tarassud plus, Medical Scout and HMushrif applications. Oman’s CT strategy classifies contacts into close and casual contacts. Only close contacts are listed using the Tarassud plus application, while casual contacts are requested to self-monitor for 14 days using the other two applications. With the evolution of the outbreak, Oman MoH implemented stricter policies and prioritised the follow-up of close contacts to keep the CT activity manageable. Community health workers and volunteers facilitated the CT activities through sensitisation of the local community to the follow-up process and reducing the COVID-19-associated stigma. Challenges encountered revolved around contact data management, given the offline in-operability of the applications, and lack of national risk communication guidelines to address community concerns and widespread rumours.

Read the full report