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Getting back to normal

24 Aug 2021

Authorities urge caution to prevent recurrence of spike in cases which may result in restrictions again

With the number of COVID-19 cases significantly dropping and the nationwide vaccination campaign gaining momentum, life in Oman is returning back on track as citizens and expatriates alike try to work and live their lives normally with most restrictions imposed by the Supreme Committee being eased.

While all hope life will return to normal starting September 1, authorities have urged the public to continue wearing masks, maintain social distancing and take all other precautions necessary in order to prevent a recurrence of spike in cases calling for restrictions again. 

“The government has been putting a lot of efforts into the vaccination campaign, most importantly with vaccines that are approved worldwide. It would be good to also welcome the people that took unapproved vaccines, but with stricter restrictions, like more PCR tests and mandatory quarantine earlier,” said Khalid al Taie, a self-employed entrepreneur.

He urged the government to make the decisions and new rules clear by “translating words into charts and infographics, making it easy for the public to understand so that everyone plans accordingly”.

According to P Chandrasekr, general manager of Jawad Sultan Group, the gradual easing of restrictions for commercial activities, including ending a travel ban from 21 countries, will act like “adrenalin” for trade and commerce activities and the entire country and its people.

“Given the fact that the whole world is beleaguered by the pandemic, the sultanate being no exception, the relaxation measures will definitely result in normal activities and enable greater involvement and people-to-people engagement. But we still have to be vigilant and follow all health protocols and not drop our guard until the authorities decide something in that direction in the near future,” Chandrasekr said.

Oman has made a clear strategy, including making vaccination mandatory. Starting September 1, only vaccinated individuals can travel, enter government offices and institutions, shopping malls, restaurants and venues hosting cultural, sports and group activities.

Entrepreneur Mbarak Ahmed al Araimi is confident of the decision to ease restrictions. “Though we are still at the mercy of the virus, I am very optimistic about the ability of economy to recover. But there is need for a gradual approach. While many will take pleasure in the easing of restrictions, it’s essential that we continue to be cautious.”

According to the Ministry of Health, the country’s effective strategy includes taking precautionary measures and vaccinating the population to protect against COVID-19 and its variants. 

“COVID-19 cases are decreasing owing to several reasons, including adherence to precautionary measures and vaccination. The pandemic is not yet over; it is ongoing and its social and economic effects are clearly visible. The Supreme Committee had no choice but to opt for measures like complete closure when cases exceeded several times the capacity of the healthcare sector,” H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, said recently.

“Making vaccination mandatory is a good move and it is our responsibility to make sure we take the initiative to be vaccinated so that we can enjoy our daily life. I am very hopeful that life will get back to normal,” said Mahmoud Zaza, as he awaited his turn for a jab at a private hospital.

Starting September 19, schools too will open indicating a return to normalcy. 

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