Lockdown in Jordan after virus cases spike

There would be a ban on mass gatherings in churches in Amman and Zarqa on Sunday to protect worshipers from virus transmission. (File/AFP)
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Updated 23 August 2020

Lockdown in Jordan after virus cases spike

  • The curfew will be brought into force from Friday, Aug. 28
  • Health authorities have isolated residential buildings in Amman

AMMAN: Officials in Jordan have ordered a return to partial lockdown after a spike in COVID-19 cases from fewer than 10 a day to more than 30.

Curfew hours will be extended from Tuesday, with restaurants and coffee shops closing at 10 p.m. andmovement restricted between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. There will be a 24-hour curfew in Amman and Zarqa next Friday.

Christians have been asked to stop holding physical services after 17 new cases were linked to a church in Amman. David Rihani, head of the Assemblies of God, told Arab News those affected in the Misdar parish had been in contact with an infected man who worked in a local meat-processing factory.

“When we heard about the issue, we asked all those who came into contact with this individual to get a virus test..” The church would abide by government directives not to hold any in-house events so as to stem the spread of the virus, he said.

Jordanians are also braced for the reopening of schools on Sept. 1, and special measures have been agreed to try to control the pandemic in schools. “We will close for 14 days any school in which cases of the virus are confirmed and will make sure that the students can learn virtually,” said Education Minister Tasyseer Nuimi.

Jordan remains relatively virus free. It has recorded only 1,576 cases and 12 deaths, including one on Sunday.


‘Made-in-Gaza’ device fights coronavirus spread

Updated 23 sec ago

‘Made-in-Gaza’ device fights coronavirus spread

  • Innovation Makers has sold dozens of machines to supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants

GAZA CITY: Entering a Gaza City restaurant, customers are welcomed by a multi-tasking disinfection machine designed by a Palestinian businesswoman to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the crisis-hit enclave.
Spraying hand sanitizer while taking the person’s temperature, the 2-meter-high device offers an all-in-one disinfection experience.
If the body temperature is too high, a red signal will light up. Otherwise the restaurant door opens automatically to allow the customer in.
“In Gaza, we have basic devices imported from abroad to measure temperatures, and others to disinfect, but our devices combine multiple technologies in one,” creator Heba Al-Hindi told AFP.
The densely populated Palestinian coastal enclave, under an Israeli-enforced blockade since 2007, was initially largely spared by Covid-19 when the pandemic broke out.
But dire economic conditions, a poor health care system and chronic electricity shortages, partly caused by the blockade, made Gaza especially vulnerable to the virus.
Confirmed infections in the enclave have topped 5,440 with 31 deaths.
“When Covid-19 reached the Gaza Strip, I told myself I had to find a way to fight its spread,” said Hindi.
“Then came the idea of creating a sanitiser and I designed these smart machines.”
The 37-year-old mathematics graduate heads Innovation Makers, a company that has created eight anti-Covid products, including a blue and yellow robot-like machine to appeal to children.
She said the project makes money but that “our focus is not on the profit.”

HIGHLIGHT

Spraying hand sanitizer while taking the person’s temperature, the 2-meter-high device offers an all-in-one disinfection experience.

“We’re focusing on a Palestinian product and a Palestinian invention from within the siege in the Gaza Strip, to show this invention to the world.”
Innovation Makers has sold dozens of machines to supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants, for between $550 and $1,500 depending on the technology used.
The products have been patented by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Economy Ministry, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The company finds spare parts for the devices on the local market but is barred by Israel from exporting the “Made in Gaza” creations, slowing down Hindi’s ambitions.
Management at the Taboun restaurant is delighted with the disinfecting machines they bought.
“The device is remarkable,” said Matar Matar, hospitality manager at the Gaza eatery, adding that he found out about it on social media.
Customers are happy to see that “something new is being developed in Gaza,” he said.
Computer engineer Mohammad Natat, 23, said he was proud to be part of the team that created the machine.
“I had the opportunity to take part in this work and be creative in my field,” he said. “It was a huge chance to have some work.”
Around half of Gaza’s population is out of work, two-thirds of them young people, according to the World Bank, and more than two thirds of residents depend on humanitarian aid.