Oman has been hit by the Zika virus, and the country has now issued an official travel warning to its citizens to avoid visiting the country, even for medical reasons.
It says it is sending out a warning to those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding, and advises that those who travel abroad should wear a mask.
It also says people should avoid traveling to areas with high risk of contracting the virus, such as the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
This is in addition to the government’s warnings against visiting the countries affected areas.
The government’s new travel warning was issued by the health ministry on Sunday and comes after more than a week of heavy rain and flooding in the country’s coastal areas.
The country’s health minister, Abdullah bin Ahmed al-Mukhiwara, said the flooding was “not unexpected”, adding that the situation was “still very dangerous”.
“The water has now reached the sea and the temperature is rising rapidly.
It is very important to be careful and stay away from the water,” he said.
The flooding is being blamed for the deaths of at least 15 people in Oman, with some of them having suffered injuries.
“This has been the worst flood in the past week,” Dr Alwaleed al-Din, director of the Gulf Regional Centre of Excellence for Tropical Medicine, told Al Jazeera.
“People are still being washed away in the sea.”
Some residents in Oman said the flood was caused by the typhoon Kavu, which is due to hit the country on Thursday.
“We are facing a disaster of epic proportions,” the health minister said.
“The waters are high and the sea is flooded.”
Some people said they had to seek shelter in their houses in order to get to safety.
“It’s really bad,” Alwajar al-Nimr, a resident of the town of Saqbad in the Arabian Gulf city of Sharjah, told the Al Jazeera English channel.
“I have to stay at my house in order for people to come and get me out of here.”
The authorities said the rains were not the main cause of the flooding, which has already damaged thousands of homes and businesses.
However, the ministry’s new warning is likely to cause the government to restrict the use of boats in the region.