Omani authorities eased entry restrictions on Monday, November 30, following a ban implemented to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As part of the easing, foreign workers can apply for work visas online if they have been granted a permit by the Ministry of Labour to do so. Applications can either be done online or at Sanad offices. Tourist visas may also be issued, provided travelers arrive in groups organized by hotels and travel agencies.
International passenger flights were permitted to resume on October 1, although arrivals must either be Omani or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals or have valid Omani residency visas. Other foreign travelers must either seek approval via their airline or be sponsored by the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Non-Omani nationals are required to provide valid health insurance covering COVID-19-induced expenses for at least one month. They must also download the Tarassud+ mobile app and pay for a COVID-19 test on arrival through this app. Travelers staying fewer than seven days can end a self-isolation period once a negative test result is confirmed, whilst those staying longer than seven days are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Further information regarding entry for those on tourist or work visas is expected in the coming days.
Public transport has resumed and nonessential businesses have reopened with social distancing measures in place. Further easing of restrictions governing commercial and industrial activities is expected in early December. Public gatherings remain banned and face masks are mandatory in public spaces and on public transport.
As of November 30, there have been 123,699 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oman and 1423 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.