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A Jordanian soldier stands guard as people walk in the street after Jordan announced it would allow people to go on foot to buy groceries in neighborhood shops, amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Amman, Jordan March 25, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Jordanian authorities have placed Irbid city under complete lockdown after it recorded 26 new coronavirus infections on Thursday.

Jordan recorded 40 new COVID-19 cases across the country in one day, taking its tally to 212 infections. Authorities decided to separate Irbid, the third-most populous city in Jordan after capital Amman and Zarqa, from the rest of the country’s governorates due to the high number of reported coronavirus cases.

Dr. Saad Jaber, Jordan’s Health Minister, said: “Given that many recorded positive cases of the new coronavirus are from Irbid, authorities decided to temporarily suspend entry and exit from the city.”

He said the government decided to lock down the city and isolate its villages from each other to prevent the movement of people within the governorate of Irbid, as well as ban entry and exit from the city, except for authorised persons.

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The lockdown is believed to be one of the most stringent measures taken by Jordanian authorities. Since the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, Jordan has taken a series of unprecedented precautionary measures to limit its spread in the country.

On March 18, Jordan went into an unprecedented lockdown, a day after King Abdullah II issued a royal decree revoking the defence law, giving the prime minister additional powers to implement a set of stringent measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

On March 16, the government approved the deployment of the army in and around cities and on main highways connecting cities. It also closed most government ministries and private sector offices, including banks, for a period of two weeks.

The government also suspended all international flights as of March 18 and closed its land and sea borders. It called on Jordanians to stay home and not to leave unless it was necessary. All schools, universities and colleges across the kingdom have been shut down until further notice.

The measures include the suspension of Friday and congregational prayers at mosques, as well as mass services at churches, and a ban on holding wedding events and funeral gatherings, and limiting crowds to no more than 10.

The government also ordered all restaurants and shopping malls closed as well as the shutting down the stock market.