Oman extends strict Covid restrictions, reduces office capacity, bans UK flights

By Oman News Agency

Published: Wed 17 Mar 2021, 9:14 PM

Oman will suspend direct passenger flights from the United Kingdom and suspend the entry of non-citizens who traveled there in the previous two weeks as of March 19, as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, state media said on Wednesday.

They said the Gulf Arab state's coronavirus committee has also renewed the order closing all commercial activities in the sultanate from 8 pm to 5 am until April 3.

The Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from the pandemic held a meeting today under the chairmanship of Sayyid Hamoud Faisal Al Busaidi, Minister of Interior, to follow updates about Covid-19 and ways to curb its spread and deal with its different impacts.

The Committee listened to a briefing from the technical team about the epidemiological situation in the Sultanate and noted the steady rise in the number of Covid-19 infection and death cases in different governorates of the Sultanate. It also studied the common causes of this serious surge, including family and social gatherings. It noted the alarming surge in travel-related infections from some countries at a time the world is experiencing rapid propagation of the disease.

In pursuance of efforts to protect individuals and society, the Supreme Committee decided the following:

- To Impose a ban on all direct flights from the United Kingdom (UK), except cargo flights, and prohibiting entry of passengers arriving from the UK or who were in transit there over the past 14 days. The ban takes effect from 12 pm, March 19, 2021and continues till further notice. Omani citizens are exempt from the ban.

- To downsize to 70 per cent the number of employees at the workplace of the State’s Administrative Apparatus and other legal entities with effect from March 21, 2021 till April 1, 2021. The Supreme Committee urges all departments to continue to take precautionary and preventive measures to curb the spread of the disease and to follow up the commitment of all to the instructions.

- To extend the closure of all commercial activities in all governorates of the Sultanate from 8pm to 5am till April 3, 2021. The following businesses are exempted, including fuel filling stations, health establishments, private pharmacies, tire sale and repair outlets based at filling stations, transport, cargo and unloading services and the operation of factories without the option of receiving clients and customers, home deliveries, the handing over of food orders to customers in their vehicles from restaurants, cafes, mobile cafeterias and licensed street vendors, as well as offering “guests-only service” at restaurants located within hotel establishments.

- To activate the role of volunteers in all wilayats of the Sultanate in coordination with the respective Walis.

- To permit the use of beaches to practice ‘individual’ sports while at the same time maintaining a total ban on gatherings at beaches and elsewhere.

The Supreme Committee urges all to follow precautionary measures endorsed by the departments concerned everywhere—within residences, workplaces and public places. In particular, the Supreme Committee laid emphasis on the prohibition of gatherings and assembling for whatever purpose and irrespective of their nature or whereabouts.

The Committee also exhorts the public and private sectors to devise necessary mechanisms for the implementation of the above-mentioned instructions. The Committee warned that there will be no lenience with offenders who breach the instructions.

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