By Abdul Jalil Mustafa
Amman, Mar 25 (efe-epa).- Jordanians on Wednesday left their homes for the first time since Saturday to buy basic supplies after the government did not manage to deliver bread to the whole population during coronavirus lockdown.
Four days after being confined to their homes and the closure of bakeries and pharmacies under strict curfew, dozens of Jordanians lined up on Wednesday in front of local groceries.
“So far, people are standing in orderly lines, keeping enough spaces between them and are served in a good manner,” Abu Yazan, owner of a small market in the Amman suburb of Jubaiha, told EFE.
Authorities allowed shops to open on Wednesday from 08:00 until 18:00 local time.
Only people between 16 and 60 years old were permitted to go shopping on foot within their respective neighborhoods, while private vehicle use was still banned.
Malls will be allowed only to deliver products as of Thursday to prevent gatherings, the government announced.
Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al-Razaz urged the people in a brief message to follow the instructions.
Any gathering could prompt the government to close the shops again, he warned.
“Curfew in our country is out of the ordinary and imposes psychological effects on Jordanians who are not accustomed to such conditions, but we have to sustain our efforts to protect ourselves against this pandemic,” al-Razaz said.
The step came a day after the government ordered bakeries to reopen to deliver 25 tons of bread
The process was marred by scenes of panic as some people did not receive the staple food.
The government admitted some “irregularities” in the delivery process, while local media and social media users published photos of scuffles and huge crowds of people wanting to buy bread.
Jordanians were relieved as they were able to buy food for the first time this week, with some people raising fears over the possible spread of the virus.
The country has reported more than 150 coronavirus cases among its 10 million inhabitants.
“When I was in the line in front of the grocery this morning, I felt my children will be happy with the commodities I am shopping, but I feel fears lurk ahead,” Qais Hamidi, an engineer and father of four, told EFE.
He fears that lifting the restrictions could lead to an increase in cases during the upcoming days.
“However, I felt some satisfaction when I saw people stand in orderly lines with distances between every two people,” he added.
Manal Midqdad, a housewife, told EFE that she was concerned about the decision to have people served at local groceries as it “will cause crowding and lead to more coronavirus infections”.
“I feel that we are starting from scratch. I hoped that the full curfew (would) have continued for two weeks because it is in the interest of the whole people,” she said.