Omani authorities will lift a nationwide nightly 2000-0500 curfew from 0500 Oct. 24 amid a gradually phased easing of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions. With the general exception of Dhofar Governorate, restrictions on travel and closures on shops and public places will end.
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.
All arrivals must download the "Tarassud+" mobile application before entering Oman. All arrivals over the age of 15 will be subject to a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test. If travelers stay in Oman for less than seven days, they can end their self-isolation upon receiving a negative test result. Travelers staying in Oman for more than seven days are required to self-isolate for 14 days and wear a tracking bracelet for the duration of self-isolation. No persons require prior approval to exit the Sultanate. Other COVID-19 measures in effect and recent changes are included below:
- Restrictions are in place in Dhofar governorate banning all travel to and from the governorate. Police patrols and checkpoints have been increased to ensure that these measures are enforced.
- 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.
- Educational and religious institutions are set to reopen Nov. 1 and Nov. 15, respectively.
- 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.
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.