Thousands of Jordanians leave hotel quarantine as kingdom tightens coronavirus measures
An AFP photographer said soldiers greeted the evacuees with flowers as they emerged from the luxury hotels used to quarantine them.
They were being driven home after medical checks from Amman and Dead Sea hotels, to be followed by two more weeks of supervised, precautionary quarantine, officials said.
Jordan, which has declared three deaths from coronavirus and 259 cases of contamination, has imposed an army-enforced curfew in an effort to contain the pandemic.
The kingdom has also suspended all flights and public transport, while only bakeries and pharmacies have been allowed to stay open.
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In its most stringent measures yet to combat the global pandemic, Jordanian authorities on Thursday placed the entire city of Irbid under quarantine, after it recorded an unexpectedly sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
''Given that many recorded positive cases of the new coronavirus are from Irbid, authorities decided to temporarily suspend entry and exit from the city.'' said Dr Saad Jaber, Jordan's Health Minister.
To deter any movement of people within the wider governate, Irbid city will now be locked down and isolated from all surrounding villages, according to Dr. Jaber.
Entry and exit from the Hashemite Kingdom's third most populuous city after Amman and Zarqa will now be limited to authorised persons only, he added.
Last week, the country went into lockdown, after King Abdullah II issued a royal decree granting the Prime Minister Omar Razzaz a new sweeping set of powers, including the right to the suspend law and restrict public gatherings.
Yet on Wednesday, Prime Minister Razzaz appear to ease restrictions on movement, allowing mini markets, groceries, basic foodstuff stores, pharmacies and bakeries to reopen.
The new mechanism will allow citizens aged between 16-60 years old to fulfil their necessary needs at specific times.
The COVID-19 virus, which was first detected in China's Wuhan in December, has killed more than 34,344 people worldwide, while over 742,444 infections have been confirmed.
The majority of those that infected with corona experience only mild or moderate symptoms, including fever and a dry cough.
As of yet, there are no known treatments for the virus, though more than 157,043 have already recovered from the infection.