DUBAI: Oman has suspended flights and banned travelers from 10 countries as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.

The country’s Supreme Committee tasked with the COVID-19 pandemic imposed ban on travelers from Sudan, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia, state news agency ONA reported.

The 15-day flight ban and two-week travel restriction take effect this Thursday.

Omani citizens, diplomats and health workers and their families however were exempt from the ban, but must undergo the mandated health protocols to be allowed entry into the country.

The government has urged its nationals and residents to avoid travel abroad, except under extreme necessity.

“The Committee pondered over the potential risks lest the new strains might prevail in the Sultanate and exert pressure on its health establishments – a likely possibility indicated by local reports and PCR tests conducted on incoming passengers,” the report said.

Oman’s total coronavirus cases rose to 139,692 after it was confirmed overnight that a further 26 people had been hospitalized. The death toll from COVID-19 related infections was at 1,555.

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