Jordan cautions public as mosques reopen amid COVID-19 outbreak

Awqaf Minister Mohammad Khalaileh stressed the importance of disinfection of all mosques before and after use. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 01 June 2020

Jordan cautions public as mosques reopen amid COVID-19 outbreak

  • The circular outlined a number of precautions required as soon as mosques reopen on Friday

DUBAI: Jordan’s Awqaf Ministry has urged local authorities to follow health precautions as mosques reopen, state news agency Petra reported.

The circular outlined a number of precautions required as soon as mosques reopen on Friday – including sanitation procedures, physical distancing rules, and mandatory protective gear for worshippers.

Awqaf Minister Mohammad Khalaileh stressed the importance of disinfection of all mosques before and after use. He said signs must be placed to ensure appropriate distance between worshippers.

He said both mosque personnel and worshippers should wear face masks and gloves and avoid physical contact with people through shaking hands and other customary actions.

Worshippers should bring their own prayer mats, the minister said, adding mosques should not turn on air conditioners and fans and keep doors and windows open during a service.


New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

Updated 08 July 2020

New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

  • Regulation of electricity sector a key condition of international bailout for collapsing economy

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s government finally appointed a new board of directors on Tuesday to control the state-owned electricity company.
Electricite du Liban (EDL) has long been mired in allegations of corruption and fraud. Its annual losses of up to $2 billion a year are the biggest single drain on state finances as Lebanon faces economic collapse and the plunging value of its currency.
Reform of the electricity sector has been a key demand of the International Monetary Fund and potential donor states before they will consider a financial bailout.
“Lebanon’s electricity policy has been inefficient and ineffective for decades — always on the brink of collapse, but staying afloat with last minute patchwork solutions,” said Kareem Chehayeb of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, DC.
“The economic crisis has made fuel imports more expensive, causing a shortage, with external generator providers hiking their prices or seeking business in Syria. It is a wake-up call to decades of overspending and poor planning of a basic public service.”
The World Bank has described the electricity sector in Lebanon as “tainted with corruption and waste,” and the IMF said “canceling the subsidy to electricity is the most important potential saving in spending.”
Electricity rationing was applied for the first time to hospitals and the law courts, but Minister of Energy Raymond Ghajar said: “The first vessel loaded with diesel for power plants has arrived, and as of Wednesday the power supply will improve.”
Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised the Lebanese people on Tuesday that they would see the results of government efforts to resolve the country’s financial chaos “in the coming weeks.”
Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Diab said: “The glimmer of hope is growing.” However, the appointment of an  EDF board of directors was criticized by opposition politicians. Former prime minister Najib Mikati said the appointments meant “the crime of wrong prevailing over right … is being repeated.”