Coronavirus: latest news, advice and travel information

Stay up to date with the latest coronavirus guidance and developments in Muscat

Coronavirus: latest news, advice and travel information

To check the current coronavirus measures and travel guidelines for your country, click here.

At this point, it goes without saying that coronavirus has shaken up all of our day-to-day lives.

So far the virus has spread across six continents, and governments around the world are responding by encouraging or mandating precautionary measures to help stem the coronavirus spread.

With events constantly changing, we’ve put together this handy FAQ to bring you some help, tips and perspective. You don’t need to panic, and for the moment, life should continue as normal (even if it does mean slightly more Netflix than usual). But it won’t hurt to stay clued up on the official advice, as detailed below.

Think you’re coming down with something? Worried you’ll have to cancel your holiday plans? Stay up to date with our guide to the latest coronavirus guidance and developments.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that started in animals and is now being transmitted between humans. The symptoms include coughs, fever, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. First identified in Wuhan, China, the virus has (as of April 8) affected more than 1.4 million people in 209 countries and territories. Some 82,000 have died, while around half have already recovered. On March 11 the World Health Organisation labelled the outbreak a ’pandemic’.

How bad is coronavirus?

Unlike flu, there is no vaccine (yet), and recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. In severe cases the virus may cause pneumonia and/or organ failure.

Compared to Sars (another coronavirus that hit headlines in 2003), the mortality rate of COVID-19 is low: around 3.4 percent according to the latest WHO estimate. This is, however, significantly higher than regular seasonal flu, which is fatal in around 0.1 percent of cases. So far, COVID-19 also appears to be more contagious than seasonal flu.

The elderly and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are most likely to develop a severe illness relating to COVID-19. The death rate is ten times higher among the very elderly compared with the middle-aged, according to the WHO. Children are less likely to be affected.

Which countries have been worst hit by coronavirus?

Although the virus is believed to have started in China, where there have been more than 81,000 cases, as of April 8 there are now more cases in five other countries. The USA has 400,000 cases, while Spain and Italy have 141,000 and 135,000 respectively. Germany, France and Iran are also managing major outbreaks, with 107,000 cases in Germany, 109,000 in France and 62,000 in Iran.

As of April 8, there have been 419 cases recorded in Oman. You can keep track of the spread of the disease on this map. The WHO advises against travelling to areas experiencing ongoing transmission of COVID-19.

To check the current coronavirus measures and travel guidelines for your country, click here.

How will coronavirus affect my day-to-day life?

First: don’t panic. The spread of the virus outside China wasn’t unexpected, and governments have been making plans and issuing advice.

If you’re in Muscat

As of April 8, the local authorities have decreed that the following organisations and services suspend operation until further notice:

  • Tourist sites
  • Beaches
  • Parks and play areas
  • Shops (with the exception of grocery stores, clinics and pharmacies)
  • Traditional souqs and market places
  • Sport clubs
  • Gyms
  • Barber shops and beauty salons
  • Mosques (except for the Call to Prayer)
  • Worship areas of non-Muslims
  • All gatherings, activities and conferences
  • Public transport
  • Exchange units

Restaurants, cafes and cafeterias will also be closed, included those in hotels, with the exception of takeaway orders. The Royal Opera House Muscat has also finished its season early, meaning there will be no performances until September 2020.

From March 29, there will be no domestic or international flights in Oman, with the exception of air cargo and flights to the governorate Musandam, until further notice. Non-Omanis are banned from entering Oman via land, sea and airports, and Omanis are not be allowed to exit the country. 

Newspapers and magazines will no longer be printed, distributed or sold in the Sultanate.

What are the official guidelines for my country?

– Australia
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Canada
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– China
National Health Commission
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

– France
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Germany
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Italy
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Japan
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– New Zealand
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Singapore
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– South Korea
Korea Tourism Organization
Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

– Thailand
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– United Kingdom
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– United States
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

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The restriction will remain in place until further notice

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