Jordan reports 38 COVID-19 cases over weekend, as lockdown lifted

The newest outbreak has largely been traced back to a truck driver who did not self-quarantine after being tested negative when he returned to the country

A man wears a protective face mask as he walks along the main market in downtown after the government eased the restrictions on movement aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus in Amman, Jordan (photo credit: MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS)
A man wears a protective face mask as he walks along the main market in downtown after the government eased the restrictions on movement aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus in Amman, Jordan
(photo credit: MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS)
As Jordan began to exit a lockdown implemented in March to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the country reported 38 new confirmed infections over the weekend. Previously no new cases had been reported for eight consecutive days, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.
The newest outbreak has largely been traced back to a truck driver from the Mafraq Governorate, east of Amman, who did not self-quarantine after being tested negative when he returned to the country. He later began showing symptoms and tested positive.
The driver held an Iftar meal, a meal to end the daily fast during Ramadan, in his home, infecting 35 people who reside in a number of cities including friends, family and a nurse. 140 people have been in direct contact with the truck driver, according to the Jordan Times.
Jordan said on Sunday it had lifted all restrictions on economic activity in the latest easing of coronavirus lockdown rules to help jump-start the cash-strapped economy.
A European diplomat, six truck drivers and a student who returned from Russia were also confirmed as infected over the weekend.
Jordan's Minister of Health Saad Jaber stressed that the situation is "under control," adding that while it was "a major setback and a sudden shock," the new cases "did not take the Kingdom back to square one."
Quarantine centers will be set up along Jordan's borders where drivers will need to stay for 17 days. According to Asharq Al-Awsat, reports indicate that about 245 truck drivers weren't tested upon arriving to Jordan.
Jordan responded quickly to the coronavirus outbreak, announcing a nationwide lockdown after only 35 cases had been reported. As of Saturday, 522 cases had been confirmed in the country since the beginning of the outbreak.
Reuters contributed to this report.


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