Oman will extend its coronavirus lockdown by three hours each evening for two weeks to prevent people gathering in large numbers. The Eid Al Adha holiday will see a complete movement ban.
The Supreme Committee Responsible for Covid-19 issued a statement on Tuesday ordering lockdown to begin at 5pm and run until 4am between July 16 and July 31. The current lockdown, which began on June 2, runs between 8pm and 4am, and prohibits people from leaving their homes. No shops are allowed to open during lockdown hours.
The Supreme Committee also imposed a 24-hour ban on individual and vehicle movements and closure of commercial activities on the first three days of the Eid Al Adha holidays, except for emergencies.
No Eid prayers will be performed and all traditional habta markets will be closed.
Habta markets are traditional shops in town centres starting a week before Eid with produce for Eid feasts and gifts.
Oman is battling a protracted second wave of the coronavirus, which has killed 3,339 people in the sultanate. At the peak of the crisis, in April 2021, the country was registering more than 3,000 cases a day, but lockdown measures have reduced the spread of the disease. On Monday, authorities registered 1,570 new cases.
The committee did not give a reason for the extended lockdown but an official close to the ruling said it was to restrict people from celebrating Eid Al Adha, which is expected to start on either July 19 or July 20, depending on the sighting of the Moon.
“This is in anticipation that people will gather in large crowds during the evenings of the Eid Al Adha holidays,” the official told The National.
The Supreme Committee decided to remove Egypt from the list of countries from which arrivals are banned. It also decided to add to the list the following countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, Libya, Argentina, Colombia and Brunei.