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The New Arab Staff

Jordan closes schools, mosques after new Covid-19 outbreak

Jordan will see a partial lockdown to tackle a new wave of Covid-19 cases [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 September, 2020

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Jordan has seen a new wave of coronavirus cases leading authorities to respond.
Jordan will close a number of public places this week after a new wave of coronavirus cases in the kingdom were reported, authorities have announced.

From Thursday, schools, places of worship, and markets will be closed for two weeks, the cabinet decided, in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.

"We are living through exceptional circumstances," government spokesman Amjad Adailah said according to Reuters.

"These measures are harsh as they are, but we hope they will reduce infections and prevent a large outbreak that would lead to a total shutdown that would have catastrophic consequences."

Jordan has seen 3,528 cases of Covid-19 and 25 deaths but there were 252 new cases recorded on Sunday - the biggest daily spike since the start of the outbreak.

Jordan has seen relatively few cases of the disease compared to its neighbours, in part due to a full lockdown in the kingdom, early on in the coronavirus crisis, which has since been eased.

The measures enacted to tackle the spread of Covid-19 were some of the toughest in the world, keeping the death toll low and ensuring health services were not overstretched.

But the impact on the economy has been harsh and is expected to shrink by five percent this year, the biggest contraction since 1990.

Health Minister Saad Jaber said the new measures should help stop the spread of the disease, but will fall short of a nationwide curfew that was announced in March.

"These measures are harsh as they are, but we hope they will reduce infections and prevent a large outbreak that would lead to a total shutdown that would have catastrophic consequences," Jaber said.

Jordan re-opened schools in June and recently allowed internaional flights to resume, but social gatherings, such as weddings, have been banned.

"The irresponsible behaviour of some by having condolences gatherings and weddings has affected everyone," Jaber said, with two-week jail sentences for anyone caught violating the ban still in place.

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