Strict movement curbs in Jordan to halt virus spread

A laborer sprays disinfectant in Jordan’s archaeological city of Petra south of the capital Amman to prevent the spread of coronavirus on Tuesday. (AFP)
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Updated 18 March 2020

Strict movement curbs in Jordan to halt virus spread

  • Jordan announced that 4,700 people, mostly Jordanians, who recently arrived from abroad are under a 14-day quarantine, with most of them in hotels in Amman and the Dead Sea area

AMMAN: Jordan took extraordinary steps to restrict movement of people in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
A government directive ordered the closure of all non-essential organizations and institutions, and the limit of travel to essential services. Travel within districts will be restricted except for those on important humanitarian work.
The directive, announced by Amjad Adaileh, minister of state for media affairs, also noted that exceptions would be decided by the prime minister. A government spokesperson told Arab News that the decisions taken were based on pre-existing laws, with legal experts hesitant to support special emergency laws to justify them.
A military communique also stated that army units would be placed outside major cities to ensure that only essential travel was permitted. Medical personnel, the media and other essential workers are exempt on condition of showing proper identification.
Jordan also announced that 4,700 people, mostly Jordanians, who recently arrived from abroad are under a 14-day quarantine, with most of them in hotels in Amman and the Dead Sea area. The number of people affected by the virus in the country stands at 35.
One person has been declared to have recovered, according to the Ministry of Health. Among those with the virus are six people from the Irbid district who attended a wedding, including the groom and his father, who had traveled from Spain five days earlier.

FASTFACT

The Baptist convention in Jordan has made a newly built school in Zarqa available for the government to use.

The JETT national bus company announced that it was putting all its transportation fleet at the service of the government. Amman also announced that 550,000 Jordanian dollars ($775,00) had been donated by major companies, including the Arab Potash Company, the Housing Bank, the Jordanian Petrol Refinery Company and the Jordan Chamber of Commerce towards fighting the virus.
The Baptist Convention in Jordan has also made a newly built school in Zarqa available for the government to use after Rev. Suheil Madanat, head of the Jordan Baptist Convention, sent a letter to Prime Minister Omar Razzaz.
Rev. Nabeeh Abbasi, member of the Jordan Evangelical Council representing Baptists, told Arab News that the decision was done as part of the church’s social responsibility. “Our faith and our desire to be an active supporter of our country’s national needs let us put all our resources and assets in the service of our people and we pray to the Almighty to protect Jordan.”


Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

Pedestrians, wearing face masks, walk in a street of Ankara on November 20, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 24 November 2020

Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

  • 20% of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return
  • No PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers entering the country. It is a very big mistake

ANKARA: Unofficial sources have warned that numbers of COVID-19 cases in Turkey are skyrocketing.

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) estimated that daily COVID-19 cases have risen to more than 47,500, of which about 12,500 are in Istanbul. This would represent a 300 percent increase in November compared to the month before.

According to official data, however, Turkey recorded 5,103 new COVID-19 patients on Nov. 20 — the second highest new daily figure since March — and its highest daily death toll with 141 fatalities.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu announced that 186 people died from “infectious diseases” in the city on Nov. 22 — more than the official countrywide death toll. (The Turkish health ministry is accused of classifying some COVID-related deaths as "infection-related deaths")

The TTB, whose data drew on figures from 1,270 medics in 76 provinces, claimed that someone in Turkey dies from COVID-19 every 10 minutes. It declared that “they have lost control of the pandemic.”

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms. Following this admission Turkey was put on the UK’s quarantine-on-arrival list in early October.

BACKGROUND

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms.

Reports drawing on Israeli health ministry data say that 20 percent of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return home, which experts consider a worryingly high figure.

Everyone arriving in Israel is obliged to self-isolate for 14 days. There is no such an obligation in Turkey.

“The countries which prove successful in managing the pandemic are those that apply strict quarantine rules and rigorously regulate arrivals in the country. But this is not the case in Turkey nowadays,” said Guner Sonmez, a radiologist from Uskudar University in Istanbul.

“Only one case can again trigger a whole chain of contagion and begin a new wave of pandemic. However, no PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers who enter the country. It is a very big mistake for managing the dynamics of the pandemic.”

Turkey recently re-introduced a partial evening curfew and restrictions on the weekends, although scientists have been urging a full 14-day lockdown.