AMMAN: The Jordanian government on Monday announced a series of programs to help ease conditions for 10 million people living under a round-the-clock coronavirus curfew.
Minister of media affairs, Amjad Adaileh, said pharmacies had been allowed to make free home deliveries of medicines, along with bread and water, and bakeries had been given the green light to restart work from Tuesday morning.
Through the initiatives, more of which will be introduced over the coming days, officials are hoping to prevent a repeat of the panic buying witnessed in supermarkets before the curfew was imposed on Saturday.
Jordan currently has 127 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease.
Around 70,000 students have begun distance learning using a curriculum broadcast on Jordan’s sports satellite station as well as online.
Government officials expected the curfew to remain in place for some time and appealed for Jordanians to adjust their lifestyles appropriately.
Samar Muhareb, director of the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) legal aid organization, told Arab News that the government’s plan of supplying basic humanitarian needs was necessary due to the large number of people affected.
“But from our experience in dealing with the Syrian crisis, after you deal with basic needs you need to address other needs or else you will be faced with social unrest.
“All of sudden you will find problems of people with aching teeth, or smoking addicts that have run out of cigarettes, and this might turn normally peaceful people into beasts if these issues are not dealt with.”
Muhareb pointed out that the Jordanian government needed to be transparent with the public over dealing with the outbreak.
“In an emergency you begin with providing emergency protection and support and after protection you need to work on the need to identify the needs and begin a distribution plan that can help address the public’s need to cope with the long-term emergency,” she added.
It was only a matter of time before “the government must open up the banks and get money into people’s hands,” Muhareb said.
Linda Al-Kalash, executive director of Tamkeen for legal aid and human rights, told Arab News: “I hope the government doesn’t plan to provide cash or other support only for Jordanian citizens.
“There are 3 million people who are non-Jordanians including foreign laborers, refugees, and Palestinians without citizenship that live in the country and are equally affected by this epidemic.”