Muscat: Oman’s government authorities shut down a number of shops that were in violation of the regulations imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 infections in the country.
The country’s Supreme Committee for the monitoring of COVID-19 had stipulated that most shops in the Sultanate needed to close, along with many other public places, and those who did not abide by these rules were also fined.
Muscat Municipality closed four barber shops, a coffee shop and a restaurant for breaking these rules, with an official from the organisation saying, “Muscat Municipality, represented by all the directorates in the Wilayats of Muscat Governorate, continues to follow up and monitor all commercial outlets in terms of implementing the decisions of the Supreme Committee for dealing with COVID-19."
“In Seeb, Muscat Municipality found two barber shops, one restaurant and one coffee shop to be in violation,” he added. “Whereas, in Muttrah, two more barber shops were found to be in violation of the rules.”
The two hairdressers in Seeb were fined OMR 300 for violating these rules. Meanwhile, municipal authorities also shut down the stalls of several street vendors who were openly selling fish, an act that was in direct violation of the COVID-19 safety regulations.
“Muscat Municipality in Bawshar, in cooperation with the Royal Oman Police (ROP), raided street vendors in several locations for using public sites as an open display platform for selling fish and other products without observing the regulations and health precautions in light of the spread of COVID-19,” added the organisations. “This is a violation of municipal regulations and health requirements.”
The Ministry of Health also suspended two brands of hand sanitiser from being sold in the market, because the country that exported these to Oman had decided to withdraw them, in addition to these products containing high amounts of methanol.
One product is the Shield Hand Sanitising Gel manufactured by the Bonn Medical Industries, and the other is the First Hand Sanitizing Gel manufactured by RaytAlbayan. Both companies are based out of Saudi Arabia. The ministry has recommended citizens and residents to stop using these products, and has asked shopkeepers to withdraw them, as they are no longer recognised as products that can be sold.
Oman’s Ministry of Manpower has also decided to temporarily close its customer service kiosks, but will continue to be available to companies and individuals online.
“The ministry has decided to temporarily stop receiving people at the customers service delivery outlets at the ministry’s general office and across all the directorates and departments in the governorates of the Sultanate, until the current healthcare situation is over,” explained the ministry in a statement.
Two electricity companies in Oman have also temporarily halted services provided to customers in their offices until further notice. Mazoon Electricity Company said in a statement: "The is company taking precautionary measures to protect its customers and staffs from the risks of infection with the coronavirus (COVID-19 from Thursday until another notice. This include the temporarily closure of service offices as well as suspending electricity licence tests."
The news came shortly after another company, Muscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC), also decided to halt its in-office services. “For your safety and based on the current situation associated with COVID-19 precautions, all our offices in Muscat Governorate have been closed and all our services are now been provided through MEDC’s website, https://medcoman.com,” said a company statement.
In keeping with the safety procedures put in place to ensure students do not get infected by the virus, the Central Board of Secondary Education exams that were to be held for all Indian school-going students in Oman have been postponed, following a notice issued by the CBSE headquarters of in Delhi.
“All ongoing examinations of the board for classes X and XII, being held in examination centres in India and abroad, and scheduled between 19 March 2020 and 31 March 2020 (both dates inclusive), shall be rescheduled after 31st March 2020. Rescheduled dates will be communicated by the board to all its stakeholders by 31 March 2020 after re-assessment of the situation,” Anurag Tripathi, CBSE Secretary said.