Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Authorities in Oman plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions nationwide, lift lockdown in Muscat beginning May 29.
This alert affects Oman
This alert began 27 May 2020 17:23 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Travel and business disruptions, increased security
Authorities in Oman plan to ease restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) beginning May 29. The full lockdown in Muscat Governorate will be lifted May 29 and travel between Muscat and other governorates in the sultanate will be allowed. Starting May 31, companies will be allowed to operate at 50 percent workforce capacity, provided they can meet social distancing and other safety guidelines.
Previously enacted restrictions in Oman include:
- Muscat Governorate, including Muttrah District, and the town of Jalan Bani Bu Ali in Ash Sharqiyah South Governorate, remain on lockdown through 2200 May 29. Travel into and out of the impacted areas remains prohibited. Within Muscat city, travel into and out of specific districts, including Muttrah, Ruwi, Wadi Kabir, Wadi Kabir Industrial Estate, and Darsait is also restricted.
- The use of masks in public spaces and transportation remains mandatory.
- All educational and religious institutions are closed until further notice.
- All domestic and international passenger flights remain suspended, with the general exception of flights between Muscat International Airport (MCT) and Khasab Airport (KHS) in Musandam Governorate. The measure does not apply to cargo flights.
- Public gatherings are banned, and tourist sites, parks, and beaches are closed.
- An indefinite government ban on foreigners entering Oman via any entry point is in place until further notice. Only Omani nationals are permitted to enter but must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period; authorities have prevented Omani citizens from leaving the country since March 18.
Authorities could introduce new preventive measures or further ease restrictions, depending on disease activity in the coming days and weeks.
Background and Analysis
Oman's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.