Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Oman extend lockdown of Muttrah District in Muscat Governorate until further notice, May 27. Additional restrictions likely.

This alert affects Oman

This alert began 01 Jun 2020 11:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jul 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Oman extended a lockdown on Muttrah District in Muscat Governorate until further notice, May 27. The measure applies to parts of Greater Muttrah, including Ruwi, Al Hamra, and Wadi Kabir. Travel into and out of the impacted areas remains prohibited. The imposition of additional localized lockdowns remains possible, depending on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in the coming weeks.

Omani authorities eased several COVID-19 related restrictions May 29. The full lockdown on Muscat Governorate has been lifted, and travel between Muscat and other governorates in the sultanate will be allowed. 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:

  • 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.

Advice
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.


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