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16 Mar 2020 | 02:59 AM UTC

Oman: Government closes borders to all non-GCC citizens March 17 /update 4

Ministry of Interior announces border closures to all non-GCC citizens from March 17 due to COVID-19; confirm travel itineraries

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OMN

Event

The Omani Ministry of Interior announced on Sunday, March 15, that all border crossing points via land, sea, and air will be closed to all individuals except citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states as of Tuesday, March 17, to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). All individuals entering Oman will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Authorities are also limiting public gatherings including closing parks and suspending Friday prayers and weddings. 

As of March 15, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 22 COVID-19. Of these, 18 individuals are linked to travel from Iran. Health officials continue to advise against all non-essential travel. Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.