Middle East, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Jordanians, refugees unite to fight coronavirus

Jordan is home to around 1.3 million Syrian refugees

Jordanians, refugees unite to fight coronavirus


Hauran region in northern Jordan is home to thousands of Syrian refugees, who fled a nine-year civil war in their home country.

In this region, refugees have mingled together with local residents, making Hauran a perfect example of co-existence at a time the kingdom is fighting the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"Jordan is going through an exceptional circumstance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the whole world," Firas Abu Al-Ghanam, the administrative governor of Ramtha city in northwestern Jordan, told Anadolu Agency.

"Today, we are facing a real test by fighting the outbreak through taking a number of measures," he said.

Jordan has initially imposed an around-the-clock curfew as part of efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus in the kingdom before easing the measure to allow people to leave their homes on foot to visit vegetable shops, bakeries and pharmacies.

"The humanitarian duty of our security services and government institutions force us to take all necessary measures to protect Jordanians and residents in our country against this deadly virus," Abu Al-Ghanem said.

Jordan, which hosts around 1.3 million refugees, has reported three deaths from the virus and 235 confirmed infections so far.

No discrimination

Abu Al-Ghanam said Jordanian authorities do not discriminate against refugees while fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

"There is no place in Jordan for discrimination between citizens and refugees," he said. "The danger [from the virus] threatens us all."

Police spokesman Amer al-Sartawi, for his part, hailed the commitment of both citizens and refugees to government measures against the disease.

"The commitment to the measures in Hauran region and Ramtha city is at its highest level," he said.

He said orders of King Abdullah II are meant to "keep the safety of the citizens above everything".

"There is no room for recklessness and we will not allow it," he stressed.

He added that local authorities are keen to enforce law "to pass this crisis in peace."

Mohamed al-Hawari, a spokesman for UN refugee agency UNHCR, said the Jordanian measures against coronavirus "fit with the response plan adopted by UNHCR".

"We are closely following up these measures and their impact on protecting the Syrian refugees and their camps in various regions," he told Anadolu Agency.

He said the northern part of Jordan has a big concentration of Syrian refugees "due to the geographical proximity of their country".

"The government and security agencies in Jordan are keen on maintaining the safety of Syrian refugees," he said.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 177 countries and territories, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows over 700,000 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 32,800 and over 151,800 recoveries.

*Bassel Ibrahim contributed to this report from Ankara

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