Critical Alert


Authorities in Oman introduce new COVID-19 restrictions for arriving passengers Nov. 2. Other restrictions remain in place.

 

Summary
Omani authorities mandated Nov. 2 that all travelers arriving via any of the Sultanate's ports must undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no more than 96 hours before their arrival. Travelers will undergo an additional PCR test upon arrival and a further test eight days after their initial date of arrival. The compulsory home quarantine of 14 days has been reduced to seven days. Travelers must wear a tracking bracelet for the duration of self-isolation. Arrivals must download the "Tarassud+" mobile application before entering Oman.

Only Omani and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals, as well as Omani residents who possess valid residency visas, are allowed to fly into the Sultanate. Non-Omani nationals are required to have international health insurance that covers COVID-19 expenses for at least one month. Foreign nationals who do not have valid residency visas should seek approval via their airline. Alternatively, their sponsors can contact the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Other COVID-19 measures in effect and recent changes are included below:

  • 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 facemasks in public spaces and transportation remains mandatory.
  • Companies are allowed to operate at 50-percent workforce capacity, provided they can comply with social distancing and other safety guidelines.
  • In exceptional circumstances, residents may enter the Sultanate via the land border with the UAE but must have prior permission from Omani authorities and meet UAE COVID-19 testing exit criteria. Residents may also exit Oman's land border to the UAE but must have prior permission from Emirati authorities and meet UAE COVID-19 testing entry criteria.
  • Oman Air (WY) has resumed flights to 20 countries. Domestic public transport resumed Sept. 27.


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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