The role played by the Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is highly commendable. The work of the Ministry of Health is not less important.
These efforts have helped contain the impact of the coronavirus which has devastated many countries. However, some of the procedures followed for examination and testing of those coming from other countries are exaggerated, compared to the health protocols followed in the world.
This is particularly in the case of those who have already received two doses of vaccines, in addition to the PCR tests in the countries from where they are coming 48 hours before their arrival in Oman.
The health procedures followed, whether they are in the form of re-examination, mandatory quarantine, or payment of certain amount of money, seem to be more than all health precautions followed around the world.
There is an urgent need to mitigate the burden of these procedures so that entry for investors and residents who are associated with businesses and companies in the country become easy.
This will also prevent private sector companies from making losses. Those who have completed all required health procedures in their countries, prior to arrival, should be allowed to enter in the country without any hassle.
Therefore, the health protocols and procedures being practiced in the country need to be re-visited. Work should be done to introduce reasonable procedures particularly for those who are coming from countries where similar health procedures are followed.
But at the same time, there is no doubt that the preventive measures to reduce the impact of the coronavirus are required. There is no ambiguity in this. All the guidelines and preventive measures announced should be followed without any doubt. The procedures need to be according to international health protocols as we are a part of the world.
We also believe that any exaggeration in the procedures will have negative effect on the economy of the Sultanate. The travel and aviation sectors are also suffering huge losses. Restricting movement has economic costs which cannot be avoided.
The existing procedures a person follows in the country from where he or she is coming as well as on arrival in the Sultanate are very expensive. Despite taking both the doses of vaccination, RTPCR after RTPCR and then mandatory quarantine is financially burdening the travellers.
This is increasing the burden on the traveller. If a person is already vaccinated and before travelling to Oman, he did RTPCR, there is no logic that it should be repeated on arrival. Similar is the case of home or institutional quarantine despite vaccination. This is not only a burden on an individual but on the health facilities of the Sultanate.
Vaccination, repetition of testing procedures, then quarantine not only has financial effects but also has adverse psychological implications on individuals.
The matter should be looked into at the earliest. Health measures are required, but within reasonable limits. We should not exaggerate them and create trouble and a sense of alienation among the travellers.
We should simply follow the procedures decided by the World Health Organization and not deprived the private sector from their workforce.
We expect that the health procedures would be revisited and made more practical and reasonable. It should be same as are followed in other countries around the world.
There is a need for reasonable balance between health and economic interests. The interest of the country is supreme.