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Oman on Monday lifted an arrival ban on 18 countries, giving immense relief to hundreds of expatriates who were stranded in their countries for over two months.
The arrival ban, which was imposed in June, included India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, countries which were home to most of the stranded expatriates.
Oman's official committee responsible for Covid-19 has stipulated a condition for arrivals coming back to the country.
“The arriving passengers from those countries must be vaccinated with two doses and the last dose is required to be at least 14 days ahead of the estimated arrival time to Oman. All arriving passengers will be quarantined for seven days from the day of arrival,” a statement from the committee said.
Oman on Monday reported 151 new cases and seven deaths from Covid-19. The total number of infections has reached 301,450, with 4,038 deaths.
“It is a day of celebration for me. I have not seen my wife for 67 days since she left Oman for India. Now she will be here next week. It has been really tough for me to live alone. We have not been separated that long in our seven-year long marriage,” Joe Samant, 37, an Indian national living in Muscat, told The National.
But it wasn't only expatriates who welcomed the news. Omani businesses are also looking forward to the return of their employees.
“My computer network business relies mostly on my two expatriate workers. They did almost everything. I had to reject business because I had no assistants to help me with setting up office networks. They have been stranded in Pakistan for more than a month. I am happy they are coming back now,” Salim Al Khaifi, 56, owner of Khaifi Networking and Business Machines, told The National.
Oman ended its evening coronavirus lockdown last Saturday as cases of the deadly virus have started to decline.
The sultanate has been in and out of lockdown since April 10 of last year.
New cases have been declining since the peak of Oman's third wave in June, when up to 2,529 cases were recorded per day.