Gulf Arab states have registered an increase in cases among low-wage migrant workers in overcrowded housing despite measures to combat the disease, including halting passenger flights, imposing curfews and closing most public venues.
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Dubai police said permits for grocery shopping would only be issued once every three days and those for medical visits would be granted for emergencies only.
The six Gulf Arab states have recorded more than 20,000 cases and over 130 deaths from the COVID-19 lung disease caused by the coronavirus. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have the largest infection counts.
Oman’s health minister said a textile market in the Southeastern governorate town of Jalan Bani Bu Ali, home to historic watchtowers and a fort, would be isolated until further notice.
The sultanate earlier this month closed off Muscat governorate, which includes the capital, after locking down the town of Muttrah, which has one of Oman’s oldest souls, due to the spread of infection among foreign workers.
Millions of migrant workers, mostly from Asia, make up the backbone of Gulf economies and work in sectors that have been hit by the pandemic. Some governments are trying to arrange repatriation flights for jobless foreign workers or those whose residencies have expired and will not be renewed.
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