Coronavirus updates in Jordan and the region

                                           

Last updated on May 30, 2020.

Since March 2nd, when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Jordan, our staff in Amman and Petra have been working from their homes. We are all experiencing challenging and uncertain times, in which the situation rapidly evolves and plans need to be adapted.

We strongly encourage our customers to postpone the holidays booked with us. Jordan is a beautiful country and we look forward to welcoming you with the best service. Clients that have booked their holidays through our website may change the dates of their trip. A voucher of the same value of the services purchased will be provided, and this credit will be available up until 12 months after the notification date.

Furthermore, we would like to reinforce the importance of social distancing at the moment, to slow the propagation of the novel coronavirus. Up to date information about the number of cases globally is available here on a daily basis. 

Remember to wash your hands frequently, maintain social distancing, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, and practice respiratory hygiene. Check out the basic protective measures against the new coronavirus that the World Health Organisation recommends.

In order to keep our costumers and friends updated during these challenging times, the most recent news about the effects of the pandemic in some of our destinations in the Middle East can be found below:

Jordan
Since mid-March the border crossings between Jordan and neighbouring countries have been closed; since March 17, all flights to and from Jordan have been suspended. There have been occasional non-commercial flights organized by embassies to evacuate their citizens, and the Jordanian government continues to gradually repatriate citizens stranded abroad.

However, all commercial flights will continue suspended until further notice and there is no forecast to reopen airports and resume tourism and travel activity at the current stage, according to Petra News Agency. Since the closures were announced in mid-March, thousands of people that arrived to Jordan have been placed in quarantine at hotels in Amman and the Dead Sea. Most of them have already been discharged.

The situation in Jordan is under control due to a partial lockdown in the whole country. Citizens are allowed to leave their homes between 8am and 7pm only, and public transport was resumed on April 29. In the capital Amman, the population is allowed to use their vehicles within the odd-even plate rotation system. Buses and taxis must follow all safety instructions to operate. Commercial activity was resumed as well, but restaurants only work through delivery, and cafes, cinemas and clubs remain closed until further notice. Schools continue to work with distance learning programmes.

Police and army checkpoints have controlled the traffic on the roads and main points in the cities. Movement between governorates is allowed to permit holders only. To prevent gatherings, Fridays have been days of blanket lockdown and no one is allowed to leave their homes. 

People have been arrested and hundreds of vehicles have been impounded for curfew violations, according to Petra News Agency. Jordan has recorded 730 cases of COVID-19 infections (507 patients have already recovered) and 9 deaths, as of May 29. 


Oman
All border crossing points via land, sea and air are closed since March 17 to all individuals except citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. All individuals entering Oman will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Normal air traffic is not likely to be resumed soon via Muscat International Airport due to the current global health crisis.

Omani authorities have banned social, sports, cultural and recreational activities; mosques are closed, except for the call for prayer. The country is starting to gradually resume economic activities, lifting the restriction measures on Muscat governorate.

The Minister of Health has reinforced that treatment for coronavirus is offered free of charge to all expatriate patients and that no infected expatriate will be asked to show his/her type of residency during diagnosis. Oman has registered 9,009 cases of the novel coronavirus (2177 cases have recovered) and 40 deaths as of May 28.


Lebanon
As of May 29, the country has registered 1,168 cases of COVID-19 and 26 deaths. Lebanon is on total lockdown to combat the spread of the disease since March 15. All land border crossings with Syria are closed since March 12 and Rafik Hariri International Airport is closed since March 19.

Israel/Palestine
Since March 9, people who return to Israel from anywhere in the world must be placed under home isolation for 14 days counting from their date of return. Going out in public is not allowed, except for going to and returning from the work place, as permitted by regulations; purchase of food, medicines, essential products and other vital services described by the government. Airport and border crossings have been closed until further notice. As of May 29, Israel has registered 16,809 cases and 281 deaths due to COVID-19. The country is starting to gradually ease its restrictions measures, opening parks, restaurants and nurseries, for example.

As of May 29, 602 cases and six deaths have been recorded in Palestine (in Gaza and in the West Bank). Palestinian Authority has imposed restrictions over the West Bank, stopping nonessential travel between governorates, and closing schools and shops. Since March 22, the PA has ordered the population to stay in their houses.


Sources: World Health Organisation (WHO), Petra News Agency (Jordan’s State Agency), Oman News Agency (ONA), Reuters, Foreign Policy, Al-Monitor.