COVID-19: Stepped up preventive steps target transport, tourism, public places

Energy Monday 16/March/2020 20:37 PM
By: Times News Service
COVID-19: Stepped up preventive steps target transport, tourism, public places

Muscat: Measures are being taken across Oman to limit the number of visitors in public places and at meetings, to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country.
While Mwasalat has suspended its daily Muscat-Dubai bus trips, several tourist areas in the country are temporarily shut, public and private gatherings suspended, and cinema halls have taken up sanitisation measures.
“Daily trips to Dubai will be suspended as per the decisions of the Supreme Committee to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Stops will be limited up to Shinas only, and will return to the Governorate of Muscat, until further notice,” said a Mwasalat statement, referring to the recommendations of the committee set up to monitor COVID-19 developments.
“In order to ensure the safety of public transport users, including citizens and residents, and as a precautionary measure taken to limit the spread of coronavirus, the company has announced a package of preventive measures,” said the government body.
“All buses will be sterilised on a daily basis, continuous cleaning of all seats, handles and all bus facilities at the start and end of each trip will be executed. Hand sanitisers will be provided in each bus for individual use. To reduce congestion, standing passengers will not be permitted and the temperature of passengers will be checked before they enter the bus.”
In a notice sent to all hotels and other leisure establishments to postpone private gatherings such as weddings the Ministry of Tourism has said,
“All hotel establishments across the different categories, such as hotels, resorts, camps, and hotel apartments, must stop all social gatherings such as weddings, celebrations and other events in their halls and interior and exterior areas as of Tuesday (March 17, 2020).”
Meanwhile, all public parks in Muscat, as well as museums in the capital, will be closed to the public until further notice. A statement from the Ministry of Heritage and Culture said, “For the safety of visitors, the Ministry of Heritage and Culture will close the doors of museums starting Tuesday (March 17) until further notice.”
Muscat Municipality added, “In response to the decisions of the Supreme Committee to deal with COVID-19, Muscat Municipality will close all parks from Tuesday, March 17, 2020.”
The UNESCO Land of Frankincense World Heritage Site in Salalah, as well as Salut Archaeological Park in Bahla will be shut for the foreseeable future, the Office of the Advisor to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs said. Similarly, Oman’s Ministry of Manpower has said that until given the all-clear, training programmes that target skill development will be stopped.
A ministry statement said, “As part of the decision by the Supreme Committee to deal with COVID-19, it was decided to suspend training in private training institutions for a month, from Sunday (March 15, 2020). The practice of private training institutions for any training activity, whether carrying out training or conducting tests during this period, is a violation of the decision of the Supreme Committee, and legal action will be taken against this.”
Cinema houses in Oman, where many people congregate, have also undertaken sanitisation drills to ensure their facilities are hygienic and do not contribute to the spread of infection. Ashish Shukla, CEO, Cinepolis Gulf Cinemas, said, “We are closely monitoring the updates from the World Health Organization and local health agencies for the latest developments related to COVID-19 and following the guidance of government and public health officials.” “Cinepolis Cinemas is taking a number of initiatives as a precaution during these times to make your movie-going experience safe and enjoyable. To name a few, our auditoriums are disinfected after every showing, sanitising programmes are being implemented on surfaces and contact points and our team members are monitored for their body temperatures twice daily,” he added.