Jordan mulls easing lockdown restrictions to tackle coronavirus impact on economy

Establishments that do reopen will have to adhere to high precautionary standards, including only allowing a minimum number of employees. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 14 April 2020

Jordan mulls easing lockdown restrictions to tackle coronavirus impact on economy

  • An official said Jordanian authorities were in talks over re-opening shops in governorates with no cases of COVID-19
  • Jordan’s labor ministry said companies can request to implement pay cuts for furloughed employees based on several conditions

DUBAI: Jordan was considering easing curfew restrictions in areas with no confirmed cases of coronavirus, the Jordan News Agency reported, as the country tackles the pandemic’s impact on its economy.
A new defense order will be released in the next few days, according to Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh, that will include measures supporting businesses affected by the outbreak.
Adaileh said Jordanian authorities were in talks over re-opening shops in governorates with no cases of COVID-19, as well as ease mobility restrictions to resume productive economic activity.
He said inter-city travel will still be prohibited, and establishments that do reopen will have to adhere to high precautionary standards, including only allowing a minimum number of employees.
Details of its implementation are yet to be announced, according to the Jordan state news agency.
This comes as a government taskforce announced on Monday a set of conditions for the private sector to resume work amid the lockdown.
The taskforce said private sector entities can return to work only if there is a “pressing logistical or economic health need.”
Adaileh also announced the formation of four dedicated committees to ensure the country’s capacity to provide sufficient medicine, food, and other essential goods during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Jordan’s labor ministry said companies can request to implement pay cuts for furloughed employees based on several conditions including the companies’ overall financial capacity.
Wages can only be cut for a maximum of 50 percent, according to the ministry, and can only be applied to employees who are not required to do any job during the crisis.


Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

Updated 25 November 2020

Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

  • The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz

CAIRO: The second Egyptian Aragouz Festival has opened on Nov. 24, at the ancient Bayt Al-Sinnari, in Cairo. The aragouz is a traditional puppet figure dressed in red invented by Egyptians to ridicule situations comically.

Khaled Bahgat, a professor of theater at Helwan University and the founder of the festival and the Wamda Troupe for Aragouz and Shadow Puppets, said the festival is part of the initiative to preserve the Egyptian aragouz, after it was recognized by UNESCO in 2018 as one of the most important Egyptian artistic elements. He said that he wants the Egyptian art of aragouz to reach the world because it is an ancient Egyptian art.

The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz.

The festival opened with a tribute to the great Egyptian creator Abu Al-Saud Al-Abyari in a reading of his story “Aragouz, Author and Idea,” which he published in 1953. Al-Aragouz was an important source of creativity for Al-Abyari.

The reading was followed by entries exploring how the art of aragouz shaped Egyptian comedy in the twentieth century.

The day closed with puppet performances of “The social media aragouz,” which reflected the impact of social media, directed by Ali Abu Zeid, and “The aragouz in the city,” directed by Nabil Bahgat.

On the second day, Reem Heggab will honor her father the late Egyptian poet Said Heggab, reciting one of his poems on the aragouz. This will be followed by two aragouz shows, “The Take Away,” directed by Mahmoud Sayed Hanafi, and “Aragouz, the Land of Myths.”

On Thursday, the theater department of the University of Alexandria will celebrate the aragouz with a lecture by Hany Abou El-Hassan, the head of the department, a workshop and a performance titled “Lorca and the aragouz,” directed by Nabil Bahgat and presented by the Wamda Troupe.

The performance honors the creativity of the Spanish poet and innovator Federico García Lorca, and will be held in the presence of the Spanish cultural attache.

The fourth day of the festival will honor the poet Fouad Haddad, whose son Amin Haddad will recite several poems from his father’s book of poetry entitiled Al-Aragouz. The poetry reading will be followed by a discussion.

Then there will be performances of “Aragouz Al Sima,” directed by Mustafa Al-Sabbagh, and “Al-Aragouz in Danger,” which deals with the greatest challenges facing the art of aragouz.

On the last day, the Faculty of Arts at Helwan University and the Department of Theater Sciences’ troupe will hold an open seminar with the department’s students to discuss ways to preserve the Egyptian aragouz.