Jordanians flock to the streets as restrictions are lifted
The streets of Jordan have been filled with people after stringent restrictions were lifted after a forty-day period.
King Abdullah had declared a state of emergency in the middle of March, imposing some of the most draconian measures seen across the globe in a bid to curtail the spread of the covid-19 pandemic. The army was deployed and the authorities were given unprecedented powers to restrict freedom of movement.
The measures were considered among the most effective in the world and Prime Minister Omar al Razzaz’s government won praise for dealing with the crisis. Concerns were raised, however, about the adverse economic effects of the tight restrictions and business lobbies have criticised the government’s actions.
The closure of businesses and the decline of the previously thriving tourism industry has taken a heavy toll on an economy that is already buttressed by foreign aid. The first contraction in growth in thirty years is expected to ensue as well as unprecedented government debt, exceeding 100 percent of GDP.
Public transport has been allowed to resume operations and a range of businesses have been permitted to reopen. From dentists to shopping centres, Jordan’s economic life will gradually restart.
Only 451 cases and 8 deaths from covid-19 have been registered, although concerns have been raised about a resurgence of the virus if remaining restrictions are disregarded by the population.
The borders remain closed for passengers and it remains unclear when places of study and government agencies will go back to work.