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Oman ending lockdown in capital

Restrictions in other parts of the country to remain in place as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
View of a pier in downtown Muscat, Oman. (Photo by: Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The lockdown in the Omani capital of Muscat will end Friday and government employees will return to work next week.

The Gulf kingdom’s Supreme Committee for dealing with COVID-19 announced today that the lockdown will end in the entire Muscat governorate, which includes the eponymous capital. An exemption that allowed government employees not to work in their offices will conclude May 31, at which point at least 50% of workers must be present, the committee said in a press release.

Omani authorities instituted a lockdown in April in Muscat, the Mutrah district and other areas in April to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures included business closures and bans on gatherings for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan that began in April.

Mutrah, which is east of Muscat on the country’s coast, will remain in “health isolation,” according to another announcement by the committee.

The statements from Omani authorities, which were in Arabic, English and Bengali, did not specify what exactly would be allowed under the new guidelines.

The virus continues to spread in Oman. As of today, the country had registered 8,373 COVID-19 cases, with 255 new cases reported today, according to the state-run Oman News Agency.

Like other Gulf nations, Oman has suffered economically during the pandemic. The country’s sovereign wealth fund shrank by nearly a third as of late April from the end of 2019. Tens of thousands of foreign workers, mostly from South Asia, have also lost their jobs this year.