Omani couples saddened as weddings cancelled due to ban on gatherings

Officials cite spread of Omicron variant as reason for ban

People register to get vaccinated at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in the capital Muscat on June 23, 2021 during the second phase of the national immunisation plan against COVID-19. / AFP / Haitham AL-SHUKAIRI
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Oman banned all gatherings and events until further notice on Wednesday, citing increased coronavirus cases.

It came as the sultanate reported 12 people had been admitted to hospital with cases of Covid-19 suspected to have been caused by the Omicron variant.

“All events, social gatherings, including weddings and mourning, whether public or private, are banned effective immediately until further notice to stop the spread of the Omicron virus,” the Supreme Committee for Covid-19 said in a statement.

The changes follow a tightening of social distancing rules announced on Monday, including ordering malls, shops, schools, hotels and mosques to return to 50 per cent capacity.

The sultanate announced two days ago a booster programme for people over the age of 18 in an effort to stop the spread of the disease.

The booster will be available to people in the sultanate who have already been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The second dose of vaccine must have been received in the past six months, Oman TV reported.

The latest ban has disrupted the wedding plans of a bride-to-be as it was announced unexpectedly.

“Am I upset? Of course I am. How many times do you have a wedding party? My wedding has been planned for this Friday and now my friends will not be there to celebrate it with me,” Halima Al Farsi, 26, a marketing graduate living in Muscat, told The National.

Graduates who have been looking forward to their graduation parties are worried over whether celebrations will take place as planned.

“Our graduation is planned at the end of this month and now it may never happen,” said Abdulrahman Al Abdulsalam, a business administration graduate of the Modern College of Business and Science.

“I was looking forward for this day for nearly six months. It was postponed twice because of the coronavirus and we have Omicron on top of it when I have another chance to celebrate my big day.”

Concern is growing worldwide over the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The variant has been reported in 57 nations and the number of patients needing hospital care is likely to rise as it spreads, the World Health Organisation reported, with Africa registering 46 per cent of all cases globally.

Updated: December 16, 2021, 5:52 AM