Muscat: In a ruling released yesterday, Oman’s Supreme Committee charged with dealing the COVID-19 situation, exempted Omanis from mandatory institutional quarantine with immediate effect.
Omanis arriving through land, sea or air, are exempt from the 7-day institutional quarantine that Oman has made compulsory for all those arriving in the country. However, the arriving Omanis have to quarantine themselves at home for a period of seven days and abide by other procedures stipulated by the Ministry of Health. This necessarily includes a PCR test on the eighth day. Those who test negative will be allowed to remove the monitoring bands.
There has been a dearth of affordable hotel rooms for the 7-day quarantine in the capital city as many arriving resident card holders now are reported to be staying in places as far away, as Jalan Bani Bu Ali, and Nizwa, as per a DMC operator.
Hamad Al Balushi, a Public Relations Officer working with a contracting company based in Muscat, said his company has for the last two weeks been offering arriving staff accommodation in interior towns as the rates are much lower than in capital. “Since the guests have to remain confined in hotel rooms, it doesn’t really matter where they are. And most of the hotels, include airport transfers in the package, so it is the most viable option currently. More so since it’s only the four-star hotels that seem to be available in the capital area.”
As soon as the news about the exemption of Omanis from institutional quarantine was shared, many took to social media handles of the local news websites to express their views. Most of those who commented noted their concerns about the impact this could have on efforts to curb COVID-19.