BUSINESS REPORTER -
MUSCAT, sept 24
The Sultanate’s authorities have made it mandatory for visitors to have health insurance coverage for coronavirus treatment when commercial flights resume with effect from October 1, 2020.
The announcement was made during the weekly press conference on Thursday hosted by the Supreme Committee tasked with managing the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A travel guide issued later in the day by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of the Sultanate reaffirmed this requirement.
“All visitors are required to have health insurance that covers the costs of treatment with COVID-19 for a period of one month,” the Authority stated in its ‘Coronavirus Travel Guide’.
It also noted that Omani citizens travelling overseas are also required to have valid health insurance that includes COVID-19 coverage.
Significantly, a number of local insurance firms have already begun offering health insurance coverage specifically tailored for COVID-19 testing and treatment. Travel agencies have also tied up with insurers to offer airfare packages bundled with travel and COVID-19 health coverage.
PCR test, which is a mouth and nose swab which tests for the active virus, is also mandatory for arriving passengers. The cost of each test will be RO 25, according to the Authority. Aircraft crew, and children from the age of 15 years and less are exempted from the PCR test.
The ‘Coronavirus Travel Guide’ also prescribes a number of safeguards and guidelines for inbound and outbound travellers covering not only their behaviour and movement within airports in the Sultanate, but also how they conduct themselves within the airport.
Arriving travellers, for example, are to fill in and sign a health declaration form to confirm that they do not have COVID-19 and its symptoms. Further, to avoid crowding at security checkpoint as well as within the aircraft, cabin baggage is limited to one item per passenger, plus an additional bag for duty-free goods.
In other guidelines set out by the Authority, all passengers shall have their temperature measured upon entering the terminal building. Access will be granted if their temperature is below 38 Centigrade.
“Social distancing shall be practised by all passengers at all times, and they shall adhere to the regulations and instructions, and ground labels that are used to maintain order at the airport. Whenever possible, it is highly recommended to pay electronically and use self-service counters at the airport.”