Muscat: Tourists in Oman have been asked to leave the country at the earliest, to avoid possible infection by COVID-19.
In addition, as part of its efforts to stop the spread of infections in Oman, the Ministry of Transport has temporarily suspended bus and ferry routes in the country.
“With regard to the exceptional circumstances that the world is currently going through due to the recent developments from the spread of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Tourism would like to draw your attention to the importance of providing advice and guidelines to all tour groups and tourists visiting through tour operators, travel agencies and hotels to depart the Sultanate back to their respective countries,” said a Ministry of Tourism statement.
“It is not clear how long the current situation may last,” they added. “We wish them all safe journeys back to their homelands, and we hope to welcome them back again in the Sultanate in the near future, in better circumstances.”
The suspension of all public transportation – with a few exceptions – begins on Thursday, March 19. A statement from the Ministry of Transport said, “In the interest of the safety of public transport users and their drivers against the spread of the coronavirus, the ministry has decided to stop all public transportation in the Sultanate, including buses, ferries, taxis and minivans, with the exception of buses and ferries travelling to and from the Musandam Governorate and Masirah Island, starting from, Thursday, March 19, 2020 until further notice.”
This will not include buses licensed under oil and gas companies, as well as the orange and white taxis in the country. However, the maximum number of passengers allowed in a taxi at any time is limited to four.
The statement was echoed by the country’s national public transportation company, Mwasalat, which added, “According to the instructions issued by the Ministry of Transport, Mwasalat will postpone all public bus routes within and between cities starting from March 19, 2020 until further notice.”
The ministry’s decision to temporarily stop all public transportation came a day after the Supreme Committee to monitor the development of COVID-19 in Oman issued a list of procedures that people and organisations in the country needed to follow.