Jordan to reopen to ‘low risk’ countries in August

People traveling from select countries will be allowed to visit Jordan. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 26 July 2020

Jordan to reopen to ‘low risk’ countries in August

  • The move comes as the country is trying to revive its economy
  • Jordan's economy relies heavily on international aid, tourism revenues and expatriate remittances

AMMAN: Jordan will reopen its airports to commercial flights next month after a near five-month shutdown imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, an official said Sunday.
The move comes as the country is trying to revive its economy which has been badly hit since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Civil aviation commission chief Haitham Misto told state television that flights from 22 “low risk” countries will be allowed from August 5.
The countries listed by the health ministry include Austria, Canada, China, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Thailand, he said.
Travelers from those countries will not need to isolate for 14 days when they reach Jordan but must be tested for the virus before arriving, Misto said, adding that the list would be updated every two weeks.
Transport Minister Khaled Saif however that those travelers must show proof of having spent two weeks in one of the countries on the list before arriving in Jordan.
Anyone providing false information will be fined 10,000 dinars ($14,000), he said.
The desert kingdom, which has recorded 1,154 cases of the virus including 11 deaths, imposed a tough curfew enforced with drones to curb the spread of COVID-19, before easing policies in early June.
Airports were closed in mid-March and international flights suspended.
The curbs hit cash-trapped Jordan hard. Its economy relies heavily on international aid, tourism revenues and expatriate remittances.
Before the coronavirus struck, Jordan hosted five million visitors a year and tourism accounts for 14 percent of the country’s GDP, employing about 100,000 people.
Tourism earned Jordan around $5.3 billion last year.
Around a quarter of a million people a year used to visit Jordan for medical treatment before the pandemic broke out, bringing in some $1.5 billion.
The country was already in a precarious situation even before the new coronavirus, with unemployment at 19.3 percent in the first quarter of this year.


Lebanon’s foreign minister resigns amid economic crisis

Updated 03 August 2020

Lebanon’s foreign minister resigns amid economic crisis

  • Nassif Hitti submits resignation to the prime minister and leaves government house without making any comments
  • Hitti’s resignation is a blow to Hassan Diab’s government

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s foreign minister resigned on Monday, becoming the first Cabinet minister to defect from his post amid the severe economic and financial crisis striking the country.
Minister Nassif Hitti’s submitted his resignation to the prime minister and left the government house without making any comments.
A career diplomat, Hitti became foreign minister in January as part of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government. He was was reportedly unhappy with the government’s performance and lack of movement on promised reforms.
Local media reports said he also was angered by Diab’s criticism of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian following his visit to Beirut last month. Diab had said Le Drian “did not bring anything new” and was not properly informed about the reforms implemented by the Lebanese government.
It was not immediately clear whether his resignation would be accepted and whether one of the other ministers would assume his responsibilities in caretaker capacity until a new minister is appointed.
Hitti’s resignation is a blow to Diab’s government, which has struggled to implement reforms amid an unprecedented financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.