Jordan's King Abdullah: Coronavirus under control, time to boost economy

Looking ahead, King Abdullah said his country would "come out stronger compared to other countries in the region."

King of Jordan Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France January 15, 2020. (photo credit: VINCENT KESSLER/ REUTERS)
King of Jordan Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France January 15, 2020.
(photo credit: VINCENT KESSLER/ REUTERS)
King of Jordan, Abdullah II, said on Sunday that after bringing the coronavirus spread under control, Jordan is now ready to shift its focus back to rebuilding the country's economy, according to Agence France-Presse.
“We have successfully dealt with the coronavirus, which today is under control in Jordan,” the monarch said during a meeting with prominent Jordanians.
 “But like every country in the world, we have paid an economic price, and the time has come to focus… on the economic situation,” he added.
Identifying the threat in late January, Jordan's National Epidemics Committee and Health Ministry designated hospitals and established various protocols to deal with the arrival of the coronavirus in the country in its early stages.
In mid-March, with only one confirmed case, Jordan instated a relatively strict policy for dealing with the spread of coronavirus, issuing a nationwide lockdown and using tracking measures such as electronic bracelets and drones for ensuring quarantine regulations and for monitoring newly-arrived travelers in the county. 
With 1,179 recorded cases of coronavirus and 10 deaths, most new daily infections in Jordan are limited to quarantined arrivals from abroad, with nearly no new cases due to community transmissions. 
Looking ahead, King Abdullah said his country would "come out stronger compared to other countries in the region."
But the two-month coronavirus lockdown has crippled Jordanian businesses and slashed state revenues by tens of millions of dollars, leading to the sharpest economic contraction in two decades.
The government expects the economy to shrink by 3.5% this year, a far cry from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimate of 2% growth before the pandemic.
Already undertaking a tough three-year IMF reform program, the aid-dependent country tapped international debt markets this month to borrow $1.75 billion.
King Abdullah acknowledged the impact of the crisis, while expressing a shift in focus and a desire to start rebuilding the economy but added that any decision regarding easing lockdown regulations would need to be “closely examined.”
Reuters contributed to this article.