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.


East Mediterranean states formally establish Egypt-based gas forum

Updated 22 September 2020

East Mediterranean states formally establish Egypt-based gas forum

  • Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan established the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) as an intergovernmental organization in a virtual ceremony hosted by Cairo
  • The group unites regional rivals of Turkey, which has been locked in a bitter dispute with European Union members Greece and Cyprus over gas drilling rights in the region

CAIRO: Six states signed a charter for an Egypt-based energy forum on Tuesday, giving formal status to a group that seeks to promote natural gas exports from the eastern Mediterranean and that Israel hopes will strengthen ties with Arab neighbors.
Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan established the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) as an intergovernmental organization in a virtual ceremony hosted by Cairo.
The group unites regional rivals of Turkey, which has been locked in a bitter dispute with European Union members Greece and Cyprus over gas drilling rights in the region.
The Palestinian Authority is also part of the forum, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement.
France has applied to join, with the United States and European Union requesting observer status.
For Israel, the forum “brings regional cooperation with Arab and European countries, the first of its kind in history, with contracts to export (Israeli) gas to Jordan and Egypt worth $30 billion, and that is just the beginning,” added Steinitz.
Egypt began importing Israeli gas at the start of this year, for possible re-export to Europe or Asia.
The 2015 discovery of the giant offshore Zohr field had unlocked interest in Egypt’s energy market and encouraged Cairo to promote itself as a regional hub.
However, regional politics, infrastructure and transport costs, and rivalry between Turkey and eastern Mediterranean neighbors, complicate prospects for exploiting and transporting gas from the region.