Jordan recorded its highest single-day coronavirus infection tally on Tuesday, Jordanian Health Minister Saad Jaber said, as the country struggles to contain a surge of new infections.
Of the 634 COVID-19 infections announced Tuesday, a majority were recorded in the capital, Amman. The country of 10 million has registered 5,679 COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths since the outbreak began.
“The health minister urged people to abide by safety measures and social distancing, warning against the danger posed by gatherings and celebrations that flout safety measures,” state news agency Petra reported.
The coronavirus has also spread to Jordan’s under-resourced and crowded refugee camps. Earlier this month, the United Nations refugee agency confirmed the virus was detected for the first time among Syrians living in refugee camps.
Confronted with a spike in coronavirus cases, Jordan last Thursday suspended schools for two weeks and announced a series of nationwide restrictions. The government shuttered places of worship, cafes, restaurants and public markets, and schools switched to online learning for all but grades 1, 3 and 12.
Large gatherings, including weddings, mourning rituals or any event with more than 20 people, are now banned. Violators risk jail time of three months to a year, a fine between 1,000 and 3,000 Jordanian dinars ($1,410-$4,230), or both, according to the state-run Jordan Times.
Under a state of emergency, Jordan imposed some of the world’s harshest coronavirus restrictions in March. Officials have said they hope to avoid reimposing the nationwide lockdown and army-enforced, round-the-clock curfew, which kept the virus in check but strained Jordan's already fragile economy.
Jordan began easing restrictions in April, and Jordan’s international airport in Amman resumed regularly scheduled international flights this month after a six-month closure.