Oman imposes nationwide restrictions as Covid-19 infections rise

The sultanate is currently reporting daily cases exceeding 1,400

Photo taken in Muscat, Oman

Oman will reimpose a countrywide restrictions from Saturday in an effort to stem the rapid spread of coronavirus.

The national committee handling the Covid-19 pandemic said the new measures will begin on July 25 and continue for two weeks, lasting over the Eid Al Adha holiday.

"In view of the increase in the number of people infected with Covid-19 and to limit its spread, the supreme committee on Covid-19 has decided to close all governorates between July 25 and August 8," the committee said on Tuesday.

Omanis will not be able to leave their homes for 11 hours a day, and streets will be patrolled by police.

"It has also been decided to prevent all types of movements and close public places and shops during this period between 7pm and 6am, with intensified patrols and points of control in the daytime," the committee said.

Both Omanis and residents will be banned from socialising or visiting each other during Eid Al Adha, which will begin on July 31 and last until August 3. The ban also prevents people from travelling from one region to another.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry reported 1,487 new cases of the virus and 11 deaths. Tuesday’s death toll is the highest daily fatalities recorded since the outbreak began in Oman.

In all, Oman has confirmed 69,887 cases and 337 deaths.

Oman is also screening widely, conducting 4,701 tests on Tuesday, bringing the tally to 279, 446.

Medical experts said the new measures would not help much to stop the virus spread.

"We can have as many lockdowns as we wish but that would not stop the spread of the virus,” said Dr Fatma Al Ajmi, a retired virologist and a medical practitioner.

“What we need is ordinary people to be responsible and stop gathering. There are not enough police officers in the country to patrol the streets to stop people visiting each other in their homes."