Jordan has reportedly sealed off the capital to the rest of the country putting over ten million residents on lockdown in a drastic containment measure for the novel coronavirus. Jordan’s army installed checkpoints on main entrances of the capital imposing movement restrictions on an estimated three million entry, allowing only essential goods transportation and authorized businesses to pass beyond the barricades, confirmed reports.
Brigadier General Mukhles al Mufleh, the army spokesman, was quoted saying that the measures were enacted to curb the contagion from spreading across the capital. The central government, however, was yet to announce a formal curfew, as per the reports. Jordan citizens were commanded to mandatorily quarantine and move only for emergency purposes. The security forces were reported threatening those caught flouting the toughened measures with prison terms and fine.
According to the reports, a defense act was formulated by King Abdullah as of March 17 that granted Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar Razzaz an absolute authority over the capital. Therefore, within hours, the military personnel were deployed in heavy numbers across highways leading to the capital and several main cities in Jordan. The law, which is exceptional to emergency state with in the country like wars and natural calamities, enabled decisions like curfews and arrests, otherwise deemed a violation to civil and political rights.
Jordan has reportedly sealed off the borders with Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Israel, and has suspended all international flights. It has also initiated the sea border closure. It has exempted trade and commerce from being impacted by allowing passage of cargo flights and commercial overland shipments, as per media reports.
Health Minister Saad Jaber said while addressing a press conference that the expected the number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 is expected to spike from the current 56. He urged the citizens to cooperate with the containment efforts to slow down the spread.