Last Update: March 15, 2020
As part of the worldwide response to the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, restrictions are now in place preventing citizens of foreign countries from traveling to Oman on a tourist visa.
The suspension is expected to be a short-term measure implemented to aid containment efforts, and it is hoped that all restrictions will be lifted once the disease is under control.
Over 80% of confirmed Coronavirus cases are in China and the vast majority have made a full recovery.
The number of people affected in Oman itself remains low, with the introduction of visa restrictions and other measures such as self-quarantine, it is hoped that the figures will remain controlled.
Countries Affected by the Oman Visa Halt
The issuance of all tourist visas to foreigners will be paused for at least 30 days, starting from March 15th, 2020. The decision was made by the Supreme Committee appointed by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik specifically to focus on effective measures against COVID-19.
Moreover, all cruise ships will be prevented from entering Omani ports for 1 month.
Until last week, citizens of just 4 states were temporarily unable to enter Oman:
- South Korea
What do Oman visa restrictions mean for travelers?
Under normal circumstances, citizens of several countries would be eligible for the Oman eVisa which is applied for online.
However, it’s now impossible to obtain a visa for tourist purposes and other visas are also expected to be limited.
In addition, visas granted before the introduction of the ban are invalid and cannot be used.
Once COVID-19 has been controlled and normality resumes, people from eligible countries will once again be able to benefit from Oman’s online program.
Other Measures in Place Against Coronavirus
The Omani government takes the safety of its citizens and those visiting the country extremely seriously. That is the number one priority behind the temporary visa suspension.
Besides pausing tourist visas and keeping cruise ships outside of Omani ports, the committee also decided to:
- Suspends all sports activities for 1 month
- Ban shisha at all authorized establishments
- Suspend all non-class student activities (further measures are under consideration)
- Limit court session attendance to those directly involved
The committee advised all Omani citizens against traveling outside the Sultanate unless strictly necessary. Omanis are also invited to stay home and pay special attention during religious and family gatherings.
How Has Coronavirus Affected Oman?
The number of confirmed cases in Oman remains low. The first 2 cases of COVID-19 were reported at the end of February, both were Omani women who had recently returned from Iran.
Since the first confirmed Corvid-19 patients in Oman, only 20 more cases of the disease have been confirmed and there have been no reported deaths. 9 of the 22 infected individuals made a full recovery.
The government has acted quickly in an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading any further by placing over 2,000 residents in quarantine. Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed, Oman’s Minister of Health, announced on Monday that of the 2,367 patients in quarantine, only 49 were in institutions, the rest were able to remain at home.
He went on to add that a guide had been created on institutional and home quarantine and that the relevant medical advice and care was being provided.
Omani doctors and hospitals are well prepared to deal with the situation which is currently under control.
Traveling to Oman During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Although the visa suspension applies to all tourist visas, some foreigners may already be in Oman or need to travel there under a different visa.
As this is a developing situation, travelers across the world should exercise caution and follow official advice to help with the international effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
First and foremost, people ought to seek medical attention immediately if they feel unwell with flu-like symptoms such as coughing and sneezing, a sore throat, fever or difficulty breathing.
Individuals who believe they may have been affected should avoid contact with others to avoid passing the illness to more vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly.
The chances of being affected by the virus in Oman are slim but it is important to abide by standard recommendations to avoid catching or spreading the disease:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and coughing
- Use hand sanitizer gel when soap and water is not available
- Avoid contact with sick people
Experts across the world are continuing to work on a cure for this new strain of Coronavirus and the hope is that, with measures such as those being taken by the Omani government, the disease will be brought under control.