UN steps up COVID-19 measures at Syrian refugee camps in Jordan

Syrian refugees line up to register their names at an employment office, at the Azraq Refugee Camp, 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of Amman, Jordan. (File/AP/Raad Adayleh)
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Updated 12 September 2020

UN steps up COVID-19 measures at Syrian refugee camps in Jordan

  • The UNHCR confirmed three cases in the country’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, Zaatari, near the border with Syria, and two cases in a smaller camp, Azraq
  • The infections in the two camps that house a total of around 120,000 refugees were the first confirmed cases since the pandemic was first reported in the kingdom last March

AMMAN: The UN refugee agency is stepping up efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 among tens of thousands of Syrians in camps in Jordan after the first cases were confirmed last week, the head of the agency in the country said on Saturday.
The UNHCR confirmed three cases in the country’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, Zaatari, near the border with Syria, and two cases in a smaller camp, Azraq.
The infections in the two camps that house a total of around 120,000 refugees were the first confirmed cases since the pandemic was first reported in the kingdom last March.
“The developments this week have obviously been a worrying situation for all, but especially for refugees living in the camps. Crowded spaces and cramped living conditions make social distancing difficult,” said Dominik Bartsch, the UNHCR representative in Jordan.
The refugees who tested positive for COVID-19 have been sent to an isolation area set up by the Jordanian government near the Dead Sea while families of those in contact with them have been quarantined inside the camp, the UN agency added.
Jordan’s health ministry is, meanwhile, conducting thousands of tests, restricting movement in and out of the camps and training medical staff, Bartsch said.
The infections in the camps come at a time when COVID-19 cases been rising sharply in the country as a whole, since the start of the month.
Jordan is a major host country for Syrian refugees who have fled an almost decade-long civil war in their homeland. There are about 655,000 UN-registered Syrian refugees in the kingdom.


Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

Updated 22 October 2020

Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

  • Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government
  • Both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues

LONDON: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson discussed security challenges in the Middle East on Thursday.
A-Khadimi met the UK leader at Downing Street as part of an a European tour. 
Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government as they discussed economic reforms, the coronavirus pandemic and the continued effort to defeat Daesh.
The Twitter account of Al-Kadhimi's office said both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues in Iraq and the region. 
They also agreed on more cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
“It was agreed to increase more cooperation in the field of combating terrorism, as well as in the political and economic sectors, in light of the economic challenges that Iraq faces,” his office said.
Prior to his UK trip, Al-Kadhimi met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
During these visits, Al-Kadhimi discussed Iraq’s main challenges such as the fight against terrorism and foreign interference in its affairs.
The Iraqi leader, who became prime minister in May, has a particularly affinity with the UK, having lived there for many years after fleeing Iraq in the 1980s.