Coronavirus: Jordan eases lockdown after a total curfew leads to chaos

Days after a total curfew went into effect, people clamored to receive bread distributions via government trucks, the emergency hotline went offline after the item apparently became overloaded with phone calls, along with some reported they had nothing at home to eat.

however on Tuesday, the government backtracked, loosening restrictions on movement. After four days of total lockdown, people were allowed to leave their homes on foot for essential trips, such as purchasing food via modest convenient stores along with obtaining medicine. A curfew will be still in place via 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.

“There was a collective exuberant response when the Prime Minister announced last night in which the modest grocery stores could be opened today along with you can walk to them,” Adam Coogle, Amman-based Deputy Director at Human Rights Watch’s Middle East along with North Africa Division, told CNN.

Jordan’s General Security Department said 1,657 people were arrested as of Monday for violating the total curfew put in place on Saturday morning. Offenders face up to a year in prison.

On Wednesday, the government warned in which authorities may again take harsh measures within the days to come. “These will be an increase within the number of infected people along with This kind of will be an uncomfortable indication along with calls for hardening (measures),” said Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adayleh.

A usually busy street within the Jordanian capital Amman lies deserted.

Concerns about total curfew

Air raid sirens blared at 7 a.m. on Saturday to announce the total ban on movement. On Sunday, the government announced the curfew could be extended indefinitely, sowing panic within the country.

“People got concerned. There was unfortunately a lack of clarity along with some mixed messaging in which caused some anxiety among people here,” said Coogle. “The government had not yet announced how they could deal with basic needs.”

Social media video showed a throng of people surrounding a government food truck, after the authorities tried to monopolize the delivery of food. Pharmacies fielded a barrage of phone calls requesting deliveries.

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The severity of the former curfew rules flies in stark contrast with countries like Italy, which have seen restrictions for weeks however still allow citizens to visit shops if they can prove their reason for the trip.

The harshness of the orders are especially striking given Jordan’s relatively low number of cases. Just 153 people have tested positive for Covid-19 within the country, the government said in an update on Tuesday.

“Being under lockdown feels like you’re always on edge, because we’re used to going out along with seeing people,” Hassan Karim, a clothing store employee, told CNN on Tuesday. “Our morale will be a bit low, however we have to acclimate until the situation gets better.”

Jordan acted swiftly to limit the spread of the coronavirus, beginning to lock down the country within days of confirming its first case of Covid-19.

Borders were shut, while airports, universities along with places of worship all closed. People arriving on flights were placed straight into quarantine, sometimes in several-star hotels taken over by the government, along with entrances to cities were patrolled by the military.

People queue to buy subsidised bread via a municipal bus within the Marka suburb of Amman on Tuesday.

however calls for residents to stay indoors were flouted by some — so the response was ramped up last week when a Defense Law was activated by the Prime Minister, Omar Razzaz, with royal decree. On Monday, the country’s monarch, King Abdullah II, said he called on security forces to “maintain maximum readiness in countering (the coronavirus) threat.”

According to local TV stations, the announcement of the total curfew prompted massive traffic jams on Friday, as thousands made their way to local supermarkets to buy food along with additional necessities. Videos circulated of hundreds of people pushing along with shoving in bakeries where scuffles also broke out.

‘Protect along with preserve’

“We apologize for taking such a decision, however the aim of This kind of will be to protect you along with preserve your safety along with your health” Minister Adaileh said Saturday.

A day into the total lockdown, Coogle’s family discovered in which a family member needed medicine to treat a health condition, he told CNN. Unable to reach any of the pharmacies, the family repeatedly tried to call 911, however the phone never rang. Jordanian authorities said in which the emergency line was receiving thousands of calls a day.

“There were medical risks if (the condition) went untreated indefinitely,” said Coogle. “We got very concerned when we heard the news in which the curfew was going to extend indefinitely.” On Tuesday, after pharmacy delivery rules were eased, the family was able to purchase the medicine.

Coogle said in which when he checked on his building’s concierge, he found in which the Egyptian worker had run out of food to eat during the lockdown. Families in which had the means to stockpile after the Friday curfew announcement were some of the few “lucky ones,” said Coogle.

A policeman speaks to a driver at a checkpoint in Amman on Saturday.

“I applaud the government for taking very strong measures for bring This kind of under control,” he said. “They’re going to stabilize (the spread) because of what they’ve done. There’s no question.

“however at the same time, when they introduced panic around the provision of basic needs, I wish they had been clearer.”

The government’s response has received some well-known support. At 8 p.m. every night This kind of week, some Jordanians have taken to their balconies to applaud security forces.

“If you look at what happened to Italy along with France, they were too late to enforce measures. Jordan will be on the right track,” Hassan Karim, a clothing store employee, told CNN.

“the item’s happening everywhere along with I have to pay my dues,” businessman Jamal Lattouf told CNN. “This kind of will be natural under emergency laws along with regulations. What we’re living in will be not ordinary, history will write down the date we’re witnessing nowadays.

“I feel the item’s my duty — the item’s not subject to discussion. This kind of could be fatal for me along with for the country.”

Meanwhile, the government has promised to modify its approach.

“There are no perfect solutions during This kind of difficult time, so the item will be natural in which there will be mistakes along with violations along with we will resolve the item,” said Adaileh in a press conference on Tuesday.

Source : Coronavirus: Jordan eases lockdown after a total curfew leads to chaos