Oman eases coronavirus restrictions

Malls and businesses will reopen as the sultanate reviews measures

This picture taken on November 29, 2018 shows a view of the city of Nizwa from the walls of the 17th-century fortification of the same name, about 160 kilometres southwest of the capital Muscat. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)
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Oman is reopening malls, some businesses and industrial activities from Wednesday as the country eases coronavirus restrictions.

More than 50 commercial and industrial activities will be reopened following a decision on Tuesday by the Supreme Committee tasked with tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Businesses covered by the decision include real estate offices, travel agencies, maintenance businesses and dry cleaners.

Social distancing of at least two metres must be maintained by customers, the agency said.

Last week, Oman allowed most shops in the high streets to reopen while malls and education institutions remained closed.

The latest easing of restrictions comes as the sultanate tackles a surge in cases. On Monday, Oman recorded 1,605 new coronavirus infections, the largest daily total since the pandemic started, pushing the total number of infected people over 31,000.

The health ministry said the rise in infections was due to people in labour accommodation breaking social-distancing rules and safety procedures.

“Construction camps need to follow the pandemic rules. There are reports workers do not respect the safety procedures since the reopening of this sector,” the Ministry of Health said earlier this week.

On Monday, Oman flew 73 Indian doctors and nurses back to the country to support the fight against the pandemic. The group was on annual leave in their home country when stay-home measures prevented them from returning to Oman.