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Oman returns to nighttime curfew as COVID-19 cases climb

Beginning Sunday, a curfew will run from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Oct. 24.

Oman will return to an overnight curfew for two weeks beginning Sunday to curb an uptick in coronavirus infections, state media said today. 

The movement restrictions, which include a nighttime closure of shops and public spaces, will last from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Sunday to Oct. 24, reports the Oman News Agency. The use of beaches is also banned until further notice.   

Oman’s supreme committee for handling the coronavirus issued the order today, noting the “dangerous situation that exceeds the capacity of the health system and its workers."

The committee described a sharp increase in hospitalizations from the coronavirus and a surge of patients in intensive care units. To cope with the influx, health officials opened a 312-bed field hospital at the old airport in Muscat earlier this week.

The committee called on Omanis to stop holding family and social gatherings, adding that “relevant authorities will take all legal measures against the violators.”

That includes shutting down businesses that don’t adhere to coronavirus measures and publishing the names and photos of the violators in the media, the statement said.

The number of new infections in Oman has been steadily rising in the past month. The Gulf country of some 4.7 million people has so far registered 104,129 cases and 1,009 deaths from the virus. 

Despite the steady increase in cases, Oman has loosened a number of restrictions, including lifting a nighttime curfew in mid-August. Intercity bus services and international flights have both resumed, and mosques are scheduled to reopen for public worship beginning Nov. 15.