Muscat: The Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments from coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic held a meeting today under the chairmanship of Sayyid Hamoud Faisal al-Busaidi, Minister of Interior. The meeting was aimed to discuss updates on the pandemic, measures for prevention of infection and ways to address other impacts.
The Supreme Committee issued the following statement:
“With extreme anxiety, the committee took note of the unabating spread of Covid-19 in the global arena, compelling countries around the world to impose lockdowns, particularly in the wake of emergence of new vicious variants of the virus.
Amid efforts to alleviate the impacts of the virus’s quick propagation and the sharp rise in number of infections, the committee studied epidemiological surveys on sources of the contagion and observed the non-compliance of many people with precautionary measures endorsed by the departments concerned. Common causes of non-compliance include holding large gatherings for social occasions, individuals’ failure to stick to quarantine procedures or wear face masks and the failure of some establishments to abide by health measures.
Following the recommendations of the specialized technical team, the Supreme Committee has decided the following:
1. To continue the closure of all land borders of the Sultanate till further notice, except for the passage of trucks. Omani citizens abroad who wish to return to the Sultanate will be allowed to return home, but only within a period of 10 days from the time of publication of this statement, namely till 10 a.m. of Sunday 21 February 2021, after which no individuals will be allowed to enter the Sultanate till such time that the closure of land borders is lifted. All citizens wishing to come back to the Sultanate (within the 10-day period) have to undergo institutional health isolation at their own cost, besides being abiding by other procedures imposed on incoming travelers.
2. To make institutional health isolation compulsory to all incoming travelers via land, sea and air border checkpoints, all at their own cost, because many failed to adhere to home quarantine and breached previously approved procedures.
3. To keep all commercial activities in North A’Sharqiyah Governorate closed from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.with effect from the evening of Friday 12 February 2021, for a period of 14 days, with the exception of fuel filling stations, health establishments and private pharmacies.
4. To close all beaches, leisure spaces and public parks in all governorates of the Sultanate with effect from Thursday, 11 February 2021, for a period of two weeks, while at the same time maintaining the ban on all gatherings, irrespective of their whereabouts—be it in rest-houses, farms, winter camps, manor houses or elsewhere. The committee recommends avoiding assembling of families within homes or other private places.
5. Down-sizing by 50% of the number of visitors to government departments or private establishments or commercial centres or business outlets or marketplaces or restaurants or cafeterias or cafes serving shisha or indoor sports halls. The downsizing begins in the morning of Friday 12 February 2021 and continues till further notice.
6. Postponement of loan premiums payable to (the previous) Al-Raffd Fund by owners of small and medium enterprises for the period from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021. This is in addition to offering incentives to beneficiaries from (the previous) Sanad and Livelihood Resources Programme. The incentives will be announced later by the authorities concerned.
The committee strongly advises all citizens and residents to avoid traveling abroad during the coming period, except in cases of extreme necessity. It also reminds all that many countries have re-imposed curbs on movement and travel. The committee recommends minimizing the travel of citizens and residents to be dispatched abroad on official missions or participation.
The Supreme Committee reaffirms that it will maintain elaborate check-up of updates on the pandemic, locally and internationally, and that the authorities concerned will continue to penalize all offenders who breach the decisions undertaken to protect individuals and society against the spread of the virus and its new strains. The punitive action includes exposing the offenders by publishing their names and photos in the media. The authorities concerned will also shut down any business establishment found to be violating the procedures. Such establishments will be exposed to the public through the media, which will publish names and particulars of the breaching establishments.