Jordanian officials began implementing a lockdown in the southern city of Aqaba on Sunday, April 19, due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under the measure, individuals are not permitted to enter or exit the city without special permits. The decision was announced alongside an easing of commercial restrictions within the city, which permit some businesses to reopen when complying with strict health protocols. While it is unclear which sectors are permitted to operate, schools, universities, public institutions, and cafés remain closed. Individuals in Aqaba are at liberty to move within the city between 10:00 and 18:00 (local time).
The government previously announced that religious gatherings in mosques will be forbidden nationwide during Ramadan, which falls between Thursday, April 23, and Saturday, May 23. To ensure that the ban is implemented, officials have ordered the closure of all mosques and public places of worship during Ramadan, suspending the traditional daily evening prayers in public.
Jordanian officials extended public sector closures and suspensions on the national level until Thursday, April 30. Public institutions, ministries, and the public school system, including universities, are affected. Movement between provinces remains prohibited, as are gatherings of more than ten people. Additionally, all public transportation has been halted, and malls and commercial complexes are closed. Jordan's air, land, and sea borders have been closed to inbound and outbound traffic since Tuesday, March 17.
As of Monday, April 20, there are 417 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jordan including seven associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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