Muscat: A nationwide lockdown has come into effect to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Oman.
In pictures: Lockdown begins in Oman
Under the rules of the lockdown, which is being enforced by the Royal Oman Police, travel between governorates is not allowed, and people must remain indoors between 7pm and 6am. The lockdown is expected to last until 8 August. ROP checkpoints have been set up on the roads that connect different areas of the Sultanate, to ensure that this rule is followed.
To venture outside after 7pm, either on foot or in a vehicle, is in violation of the law, and those doing so will be fined OMR100, according to Brigadier Said Al Asmi, Director General of Operations at the Royal Oman Police.
"There are fines that will be imposed as a result of the violation of the decisions to prevent movement,” he said. “Violators shall pay OMR100, and in case of non-adherence, the violation shall be dealt with in coordination with the Public Prosecution.
“Everyone must take the necessary actions before the timing of closure to ensure that the shops are closed and that they are in their residences before 7pm, as the prevention of movement starts at 7pm,” added the brigadier.
Al Asmi also reminded everyone to wear face masks while in public, and for companies to ensure that visitors to their premises also followed the safety measures required, as many violations had been previously reported in this context.
“The purpose of the lockdown is to reduce the occurrence of confirmed cases and family gatherings,” said Dr Ahmed Al Saeedi, the Ministry of Health.
“Patients will not be deprived of treatment and emergency operations, but exceptions to movement during the lockdown period will be very limited.”
Exceptions to this include emergency vehicles such as ambulances, service vehicles that provide electricity and water maintenance, and vehicles belonging to the police and Sultan’s Armed Forces, which will be permitted to pass through the checkpoint.
“The lockdown means that institutions shall use the employees inside the governorate to carry out their tasks in the same governorate,” explained Dr Ahmed Al Futaisi, the Minister of Transport.
“Government and private sector institutions shall use those employees who are living in the same governorate.”
Those who also have appointments in hospitals in another governorate can pass through, provided they present the police personnel at the checkpoint with the text message they received from the medical facility which confirms their appointment.
Those who have flights to catch from Muscat International Airport can also pass through the checkpoint, on the condition that they show the officers present their travel documents and flight tickets. Only the driver of the vehicle taking these passengers to the airport is allowed to accompany them, no one else is allowed to join them.
“The control checkpoints have no authority to allow anyone to cross them,” said Brigadier Said Al Asmi. “Those who go to the control checkpoints must have prior permission to cross. Otherwise, they will not be allowed to do so.”