Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities in Oman to permit resumption of several business and leisure activites from Aug. 18. Other restrictions in place.
- Alert Begins: 17 Aug 2020 03:35 PM UTC
- Alert Expires: 18 Sep 2020 08:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Travel and business disruptions, increased security
Omani authorities are to permit the resumption of several businesses and leisure activities beginning Aug. 18. The activities include international and tourist restaurants (inside seating areas in malls will remain closed), gyms and swimming pools in hotels, fish markets, traditional markets (Souqs), tailor shops, and tobacconists. The measures come amid a gradual easing of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions in the Sultanate.
- Dhofar Governorate remains on lockdown until further notice; entry and exit from this territory is prohibited.
- In June, certain businesses were permitted to reopen. All businesses that reopen must comply with social distancing guidelines and other safety directives. Companies are allowed to operate at 50-percent workforce capacity, provided they can comply with social distancing and other safety guidelines.
- Public gatherings are banned. Parks, beaches, and other public spaces are closed. Tourist sites, including Jebel Al Akhdar and Jebel Shams, remain closed until further notice, with entry and exit prohibited.
- The use of protective face coverings in public spaces and transportation remains mandatory.
- All educational and religious institutions are closed until further notice.
- All commercial 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. It remains unclear when authorities will permit regular international travel.
- Authorities had stated they will begin facilitating Omani nationals' requests to travel abroad, provided that they comply with existing or future preventive measures upon return to Oman. Authorities had prevented Omani citizens from leaving the country since March 18.
- Foreign residents are permitted into the Sultanate via chartered flights subject to approval from the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign residents may also apply for permission to return by contacting SalamAir (OV).
- Anyone entering Oman must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
- Land border crossings have been closed since March 29.
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.