Coronavirus: Oman threatens to name people caught breaking rules

Officials say people are continuing to flout ban on gatherings

Passengers have their temperatures checked at Muscat International Airport. AFP
Passengers have their temperatures checked at Muscat International Airport. AFP

Oman threatened to name and shame people who violate coronavirus safety guidelines on Saturday as the country reported 10 more deaths from Covid-19, its highest daily toll.

The committee responsible for Oman’s pandemic response said the virus could be brought under control if people respected the ban on social gatherings.

“Social gatherings in homes and other places are to blame for the spread, because this cannot be an uncontrollable spread. But it may get out of control if people continue to break the safety guidelines we set. Therefore, it is decided to name and shame offenders to stop others copying them,” the committee said in a statement read outon state television.

Oman’s health ministry reported 1,311 new infections on Saturday, taking the total number of cases to 65,504, while the number deaths rose to 308.

Another 1,322 patients recovered, taking the total recoveries to 42,772, the ministry said. The number of patients in hospital rose to 574 after 79 admissions, including 164 in intensive care.

The state coronavirus committee on Thursday extended lockdowns in the southern region of Dhofar and on the island of Masirah, the country’s most popular tourist areas, to contain outbreaks of the coronavirus there. More than half of Oman’s cases are in the capital, Muscat.

The committee also cautioned the private sector against sacking foreign workers without reason and using the pandemic as an excuse.

Lawyers specialising in Oman’s labour laws said that employers can only terminate workers if a company is facing exceptional circumstances.

“There are some checks for employers to justify their termination decisions, and the very decision for termination would be rendered unfair dismissal by the court unless there is a valid reason to do so by the employer," said Yasin Chowdhury, head of corporate advisory at the legal firm Al Faqih and Co.

Mr Chowdhury said the companies needed to consider the annual leaves of their employees, settle contractual agreements and follow the three-month notice period.

About 15,000 foreign workers have been terminated in Oman since the pandemic outbreak started, according to the government.

Published: July 18, 2020 07:20 PM

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