Spatial Associations between COVID-19 Incidence Rates and Work Sectors: Geospatial Modeling of Infection Patterns among Migrants in Oman

Shawky Mansour, Ammar Abulibdeh, Mohammed Alahmadi, Adham Al-Said, Alkhattab Al-Said, Gary Watmough, Peter M. Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Migrants are among the groups most vulnerable to infection with viruses due to the social and economic conditions in which they live. Therefore, spatial modeling of virus transmission among migrants is important for controlling and containing the COVID-19 pandemic. This research focused on modeling spatial associations between COVID-19 incidence rates and migrant workers. The aim was to understand the spatial relationships between COVID-19 infection rates of migrants and the type of workplace at the subnational level in Oman. Using empirical Bayes smoothing as well as local indicators of spatial associations, six work sectors (health, agriculture, retail and business, administrative, manufacturing, and mining) were investigated as risk factors for disease incidence. The results indicated that the six work sectors each had a significant spatial association with cases of COVID-19. High rates of COVID-19 cases in relation to the workplace were clustered in the densely populated areas of Muscat. Similarly, high rates of COVID-19 cases were located in the northern part of the country, along the Al-Batnah plain, where migrants are often employed in the agricultural sector. Further, the rate of COVID-19 in migrants employed in the health sector was higher than that for the other sectors. Therefore, working in the health sector can be considered a hot spot for the spread of COVID-19 infections. Due to a paucity of studies addressing the spatial analysis of COVID-19 associations with workplaces, the findings of this research are useful for decision makers to set the necessary policies and plans to control the outbreak of the virus not only in Oman or the Gulf Cooperation Council but also in other developing societies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19 incidence
  • geospatial modeling
  • migrants
  • Oman
  • work sectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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