Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Jordanian authorities plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions in Karak, Tafilah, and Ma'an governorates beginning April 22; businesses to resume.

This alert affects Jordan

This alert began 21 Apr 2020 19:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions

Summary
Jordanian authorities announced plans to ease restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Karak, Tafilah, and Ma'an governorates beginning April 22 for a trial period of three days. The government will then reevaluate the situation and decide whether to continue easing restrictions or to reimpose the original measures. Commercial facilities and businesses in these governorates will be permitted to resume daily operations between 1000-1800. Residents will be permitted to travel freely on foot and in vehicles during these hours.

Authorities previously implemented these measures in Aqaba governorate beginning April 19. The easing of restrictions in Aqaba was the first official step taken since Prime Minster Omar Razzaz announced April 15 that the government would gradually lift Jordan's nationwide lockdown and allow more businesses to open.

Excluding the aforementioned governorates, a nationwide indefinite curfew remains in effect from 0700 March 21. Residents aged 16-60 years are permitted to shop for necessities at local stores, including groceries, bakeries, and pharmacies, from 1000-1800. Residents are permitted to travel on foot only. The Jordanian army has deployed at entrances and exits of main cities to enforce the restrictions. Select businesses nationwide were permitted to resume work between 1000-1800 from April 20. These businesses included those selling electronics, construction services, furniture, clothes, and books. These businesses reopened at 30 percent capacity for facilities with over 10 employees. Only three employees are permitted to work in facilities with fewer than 10 total workers.

Jordan's borders and airports remain closed until at least the end of the month of Ramadan (April 23 - May 23). The closure, which originally went into effect March 17, affects all inbound and outbound international passenger flights, as well as land and sea borders. The measure does not apply to cargo flights or ground freight transport. Universities, schools, places of worship, and gyms remain closed nationwide through at least the end of April. Travel between governorates is banned. Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

Background and Analysis
Jordan's travel restrictions and preventive measures are stricter than actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.