Amman, Mar 24 (efe-epa).- Jordanian authorities on Tuesday allowed deliveries of bread and medicine to homes after imposing a strict 21-day curfew that includes the closure of pharmacies and bakeries.
Over the past three days, Jordanians have not been allowed out of their homes, not even to buy food, as part of some of the toughest restrictions against the coronavirus seen anywhere in the world since the outbreak began.
More than 1,600 people have been arrested for violating the restrictions in the last 24 hours. The detainees could face up to one-year prison sentences.
On Tuesday, for the first time in four days, the government allowed bakeries to open to bake bread and make home deliveries.
A total of 25,000 tons of bread divided in three-kilo packages were set to be delivered on Tuesday, Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said, adding that deliveries would cost one Jordanian dinar ($1.40).
He admitted some “irregularities” in the delivery process after the authorities banned sales to the public, with citizens seen fighting for their first portion of bread in days.
Local media and users on social media published photos of some of the scuffles and huge crowds of people wanting to buy the staple food.
Some also complained of unauthorized sales at higher prices than what the government set. “We will be reviewing the distribution of basic items in order to correct mistakes committed,” Adaileh said.
The curfew could be extended for weeks, depending on the “compliance of the citizens with the instructions of the government”, the official warned.
Around 2,500 people have been arrested since the curfew came into force on Saturday.
Army and security forces have been deployed in the capital and main cities to block the main avenues to ensure compliance with the restrictions.
Jordanians received medicine and infant formula breast milk for the first time on Tuesday as 2,500 pharmacies began to deliver products
The government allowed the pharmacies to deliver using private vehicles until 8 pm on Wednesday, the head of Jordanian Pharmacists Association (JPA) Zaid Kilani told the state-run Petra news agency.
Up to 6,000 pharmacies have offered to provide this extraordinary service, he said.
Jordan, which has reported 127 coronavirus cases and no deaths, imposed a total lockdown on its 10 million inhabitants, the only Arab country to do so. EFE-EPA