Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 August 2020

Oman to allow citizens to travel abroad

Travellers must quarantine on their return and follow government guidance

Travellers will have to quarantine after they return to Oman from overseas. Bloomberg
Travellers will have to quarantine after they return to Oman from overseas. Bloomberg

Omani citizens can fly out of the country if they register with authorities and quarantine on their return, officials announced on Tuesday.

The sultanate suspended all international flights from March 29, except repatriation flights.

But in recent weeks airports began preparing for an increase in travellers by setting up testing programmes to ensure people entering and leaving the country are free of Covid-19.

"The airports are fully equipped to handle the pandemic to make sure travellers fly safely," Omani Transport Minister Ahmed Al Futaisi said last week.

Oman’s supreme committee for handling the coronavirus crisis said it would release more details in due course about what people must do when they returned to the country.

The committee also ordered an extension to restrictions in Dhofar and Masirah Island indefinitely.

Both areas experience lower temperatures in the summer months, making them popular with tourists.

A 10-week survey being conducted by Omani authorities has so far found that close contact between family members and visits to other peoples' homes was behind a significant increase in Covid-19 cases.

This sparked warnings from officials for residents and Omanis to follow social distancing protocols and other guidance, including wearing a face mask outside.

On Wednesday, Oman registered 1,679 new cases, an improvement from Monday's daily case record of 2,164.

The country of more than 4.7 million people has recorded 61,247 cases and 281 deaths since the outbreak began.

The Ministry of Health warned that forthcoming Eid Al Adha, to be celebrated on July 31, may sharply increase the number of infections if Omanis and residents do not adhere to public guidelines.

Medical experts advised the government to impose a countrywide lockdown on July 31 and asked all residents and Omanis to stay indoors for the day.

“The first day of Eid is always hectic with communities celebrating together. I strongly advise the government should put a 24-hour nationwide curfew on July 31 or we will have a huge number of infections,” Dr Fatma Al Khabbasi, a retired medical practitioner, said.

Updated: July 15, 2020 07:17 PM

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