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.


#OurHomesAreOpen: Lebanese offer spare beds to Beirut blast victims

Updated 30 min 38 sec ago

#OurHomesAreOpen: Lebanese offer spare beds to Beirut blast victims

  • Social media users have freely offered up spare beds and empty properties to victims
  • Others shared contacts of doctors who were available to suture wounds in their clinics as hospitals were overwhelmed

AMMAN: Using social media, hundreds of Lebanese have offered shelter to strangers displaced by a devastating blast, which Beirut’s governor said may have left 250,000 people homeless.
Tuesday evening’s explosion in port warehouses storing explosive material was the most powerful ever to rip through the capital, killing some 110 people, injuring about 4,000 and tearing the facades off buildings and overturning cars.
Using the hashtag #OurHomesAreOpen in Arabic and English, social media users have freely offered up spare beds and empty properties to victims, providing their names, phone numbers and details on the size and location of the accommodation.
“I wanted to do something about it, I was going crazy,” said the founder of the platform ThawraMap, originally used to identify protest locations, which is curating a list of available beds, including free accommodation from hotels.
“Today a lot more people are going to be homeless. They go to their family or friends for a day or two and then what are they going to do?” the anti-government activist told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, who declined to publish his name for safety.
The disaster — which rattled windows about 160km away — has united a city still scarred by civil war three decades ago and reeling from a financial crisis rooted in corruption and economic mismanagement and a surge in coronavirus infections.
ThawraMap, or Revolution Map, has been sharing its shelter list on Twitter and Instagram, along with a map of more than 50 locations offered so far, ranging from people with extra beds in their homes to hotels providing up to 40 rooms.
Lebanon on Wednesday declared a two-week state of emergency in Beirut where some 250,000 people lost their homes in the blast, which has caused $3 to $5 billion in damage, governor Marwan Abboud told local media after taking a tour of the city.
Other city residents have been using the hashtag to make their own offers, with some volunteering transport as well in a painful reminder of the 1975 to 1990 civil war that tore the nation apart and destroyed swathes of Beirut.
“For anyone in need of a house, I have an empty bedroom with an en suite bathroom, welcoming Beirut and its people,” wrote one Twitter user Wajdi Saad.
Others shared contacts of doctors who were available to suture wounds in their clinics as hospitals were overwhelmed.
The crisis has stoked anger against Lebanon’s political elite and raised fears of hunger as it wrecked the main entry point for imports for some 6 million people, including almost 1 million Syrian refugees, according to United Nations figures.
“Beirut is more than cursed,” tweeted one user named Reyna.
“The first morning after the tragedy: nothing in Beirut is in one piece. Not the streets, not homes, not people, nothing.”
President Michel Aoun told the nation the government was “determined to investigate and expose what happened as soon as possible, to hold the responsible and the negligent accountable, and to sanction them with the most severe punishment.”