Jordan king says virus 'under control'

Jordanian King Abdullah II gestures as he delivers a speech at the European Parliament, on January 15, 2020, in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP)
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Updated 12 July 2020

Jordan king says virus 'under control'

  • "We have successfully dealt with the coronavirus, which today is under control in Jordan," the King said
  • Jordan recorded 1,179 cases of the virus including 10 deaths

AMMAN: Jordan's King Abdullah II said Sunday that his country had successfully brought the novel coronavirus "under control" and that it was time to focus on restarting the economy.
"We have successfully dealt with the coronavirus, which today is under control in Jordan," he said during a meeting with prominent Jordanians.
"But like every country in the world we have paid an economic price, and the time has come to focus... on the economic situation," a palace statement quoted him as saying.
The desert kingdom, which has recorded 1,179 cases of the virus including 10 deaths, imposed a tough curfew enforced with drones to curb the spread of COVID-19, before easing policies in early June.
King Abdullah said that Jordan would "come out stronger (from the crisis) compared to other countries in the region".
Health authorities have almost daily been reporting new cases among Jordanians and foreigners entering the country.
They have also maintained social distancing measures, made face masks compulsory in most public places and required newly-arrived travellers to wear electronic bracelets to ensure that they observe quarantine.
Before the coronavirus struck, Jordan hosted five million tourists a year, including at famous sites like Petra and Wadi Rum, bringing in $5 billion last year.
But the vital sector, which employed some 100,000 people, has been battered by the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown restrictions.
King Abdullah acknowledged the impact of the crisis but said any decision to reopen would need to be "closely examined".
The kingdom said last month it would start welcoming overseas visitors at its private hospitals, after a months-long pause.
Around quarter of a million people used to visit Jordan annually for medical treatment, bringing in some $1.5 billion a year, before the pandemic broke out.
Unemployment in Jordan hit 19.3 percent during the first quarter of 2020.

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

Updated 12 August 2020

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

  • The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention

CAIRO: The fate of at least 35 Egyptian fishermen hangs in the balance after they were arrested by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on Nov. 2 last year.  

The families of the fishermen have appealed to the Egyptian government to step up their efforts to secure their freedom as Cairo has been working on their release since November.

Little is known about the fate of the fishermen in Libya other than their location, after it was leaked to Egyptian authorities that they were held in the Turmina Prison, which is affiliated with the GNA.

The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh, Ahmed Nassar, said they had not been able to communicate with the fishermen since last November and after their disappearance they came to learn that the GNA authorities had detained them.

The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention. Nassar said that the fishermen were not fishing in Libyan territory without a permit.

Nassar explained that the fishermen were working on Libyan boats. Alongside them were a number of colleagues working on boats that belong to the Al-Wefaq government. They were not approached by anyone unlike their detained colleagues who were arrested and sent to prison without being charged with any crime.

The Fishermen’s Syndicate chief said that people had called on the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the government, and the consular section had also been contacted about the matter.

Many of the detained fishermen come from Kafr El-Sheikh, while others come from Abu Qir in the governorate of Alexandria.

The fishermen had been supporting families of up to eight members.

Egyptian authorities say they are exerting great efforts to bring the fishermen back safely, while the fishermen’s families continue to demand safety and justice for the men.