Jordan starts evacuation of 5,000 quarantined tourists

Amman, Mar 30 (efe-epa).- Jordan Monday began a two-stage process of evacuating some 5,000 people from hotels in Amman and the Dead Sea area after completing a two-week mandatory quarantine.

Those discharged have been isolated since they arrived in the country on 16 March, a day before Jordan closed its airport as part of preventive measures to fight the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Noha Abu Salha, a mother of two, told Efe that during the quarantine she tried to entertain her children as much as she could.

“I took them to the beach but this only lasted 10 minutes due to the quarantine restrictions,” Abu Salha said.

Brig. Gen. Mazen Faraiah, director of operations at the national centre’s crisis cell, told state TV that the operation, overseen by the Jordanian army, would be held in two stages.

“Jordanians will be evacuated on Monday, while foreigners will be evacuated on Tuesday according to the arrangements made by their embassies and in coordination with the Foreign Ministry,” Faraiah said.

The evacuees were instructed to self-isolate for another 14 days at their homes, according to Faraiah.

The director of operations said that the “those who fail to abide by the quarantine restrictions” would be held accountable.

Meanwhile, banks reopened in Jordan for the first time after they were closed more than a week ago.

The kingdom started earlier this month imposing measures to stop the spread of the respiratory illness, closing all institutions, except those in vital sectors, and imposing an indefinite curfew

“The banks and money changers will be operative at the lowest possible workforce between 10 am and 2 pm,” the Central Bank of Jordan said in a statement.

On Sunday, the Jordanian government said institutions would remain closed until mid-April.

The initial two-week shutdown was scheduled to end on Tuesday.

Jordan has reported 259 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far, with a death toll standing at three.

Covid-19 first emerged in China in December and has spread around the world with nearly 737,929 confirmed cases in 177 countries and regions, with the death toll standing at 35,019. So far 156,507 people have recovered.

The World Health Organization officially named the disease Covid-19, while the virus which causes it has been called SARS-CoV-2 (changed from its provisional name 2019-nCoV) by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

Some of those infected develop the pneumonia-like disease Covid-19, which is more dangerous for those with pre-existing conditions. EFE-EPA


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