The news that Omani citizens can now enter United Arab Emirates (UAE), provided they carry medical certificates confirming that they are COVID-19 free, brought about an air of excitement as Oman and UAE not only share borders but families too. Many said this is the first step towards opening up fully for families to visit each other and businesses to restart.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Omani embassy in Abu Dhabi said, ‘Omani citizens, who have permission to enter the UAE, must provide a medical certificate confirming that they are free of COVID-19. The certificate must be from the hospitals and medical centres approved by the Ministry of Health in Oman.”
The news, seen by many as a great start, brought some relief as many Omanis have close families in the UAE while some have parents there, too. “I’ve been trying to go home for over a month now, so this is great news for me. Also, the requirement of having medical certificates confirming that travellers are free of COVID-19, minimises the risk that I could – God forbid – pass the virus to my parents when I do go back,” said Liyana al Abdul Salam, whose parents work and live in the UAE.
Nawaf Mohammed, 31, said, “This is a good start. There are many Omanis who work in the UAE. The issue is, however, that there should be more coordination between the Oman Embassy and the Ministry of Health. Now, even if I have a permit to enter the UAE, I can’t get the COVID-19 test done because they don’t test unless you are symptomatic.”
Sama Essa al Taie, 22, who has her extended family in the UAE and has studied there, said, “I am really glad we will be able to go back to the UAE. We will finally be able to reunite with our loved ones. This is a great step towards cooperation between both the countries.”
Following the news, there was hope that Oman too would soon open up its borders for those in UAE to visit. “My parents and my whole family are in Oman. I live in UAE because I got married here and we are longing to see the opening up of borders so that I can see my family after a long time. Before COVID-19, I used to visit Oman every two weeks by just crossing the border, but now it has been more than three months since I visited my parents,” Alya Jamal, who lives in the UAE, said.
Last week, Oman Airports announced their readiness to reopen. ‘In cooperation with our strategic partners, we have implemented necessary safety measures at our airports to prepare for the return of passenger operations, when officially approved,’Oman Airports said.
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