Oman opens land borders for citizens, residents

The Gulf state's land borders had remained shut to international travel since March.

al-monitor A passenger, wearing a protective face mask due to the COVID-19 pandemic, checks in at the testing counter at the Muscat International Airport in the Omani capital on Oct. 1, 2020. Photo by MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/AFP via Getty Images.

Nov 13, 2020

Oman has reopened its land borders with neighboring countries to citizens and residents traveling to or from the sultanate, the Ministry of Health said Thursday, some eight months after the borders were closed to fight the spread of COVID-19. 

“The borders are open with neighboring countries and travel is allowed for Omanis and residents, and they must adhere to the announced procedures when travelling and upon returning to the Sultanate,” Health Minister Ahmed Al Saidi said during a press conference. 

Airports in Oman resumed international flights on Oct 1. The Gulf country’s land borders have been closed to international travel since March 16, but were open for trade and the delivery of medical supplies. 

Travelers must obtain a negative coronavirus test no more than 96 hours before arrival. Upon arriving, they are required to take another test and undergo a seven-day quarantine, followed by a third test on the eighth day. 

After reaching 100,000 cases in early October, authorities in Oman imposed a two-week-long nighttime curfew to stave off an uptick in COVID-19 infections. But Oman’s daily caseload is now on the decline. 

The Health Ministry reported only 35 new cases on Thursday, down from 1,000-plus per day in October. The country’s total number of infections since February now stands at 119,442, with 1,326 deaths. 

The country will also reopen a number of mosques for public prayers on Sunday. Under the new rules, about 3,000 mosques can open their doors for 25 minutes for each of the five daily prayers. Friday prayers are still barred until further notice, and children and elderly worshippers are not permitted entry.

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