Coronavirus surge will recede soon, says Jordan health official

New infections rose 10 per cent last week, compared with 17 per cent the week before

A Jordanian volunteer talks to a man at a medical centre in Amman. Reuters

A coronavirus wave ravaging Jordan should peak soon, a senior Jordanian health official said on Tuesday, as deaths and infections continued to mount.

Authorities announced last month that Jordan had entered a third wave of the pandemic as officially recognised deaths from the coronavirus exceeded 10,000 and more than a million people had been infected.

“If we are not at the peak of this pandemic then we are very close,” said Adel Belbeisi, an infectious diseases official.

“Cases, God willing, will steadily decline,” Mr Belbeisi told official television.

The sharply rising coronavirus infections and deaths threaten to undermine what the government describes as an economic rebound, including slight improvement in tourism.

The economy is officially forecast to grow 2 per cent this year, compared with a 2 per cent contraction in 2020.

Speculation has been mounting that the government could reimpose lockdowns abandoned in the middle of this year, despite official assertions that there would be no return to coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Belbeisi said new infections in Jordan rose last week by 10 per cent compared with a 17 per cent increase the week before and a 30 per cent rise two weeks before that.

“The rate of increase in infections is declining,” Mr Belbeisi said. “Our situation is good.”

He said 45 per cent of coronavirus beds were full, twice as many as a few weeks ago, but that there was excess capacity in the system to deal with further surges in patients requiring hospital care.

“We need co-operation from the citizens,” Mr Belbeisi said, urging vaccination, adherence to social distancing and avoiding parties and gatherings.

Official data shows that 40 per cent of Jordan’s population of 10 million has been vaccinated.

The authorities required last month that anyone entering businesses or government departments show a vaccination certificate but said gatherings would not be banned, including for new year.

Traffic was light at a normally busy intersection in downtown Amman on Tuesday. Shops and stalls that cater to tourists were almost empty.

People walk at a market, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in Amman, Jordan. Reuters

“Business is dead,” said one ice-cream seller. “But at least there has not been a return to curfews.”

Latest Health Ministry data shows that 24 people died from the pandemic in the last 24 hours, bringing total deaths to 12,048.

Amro, a lawyer who has been vaccinated, said he tested positive for the coronavirus last week, just before he was about to take a plane to the Emirates, which required taking a PCR test.

He said by phone from home, where he is quarantining, that he infected his two daughters, both girls, who have a 38 degree fever.

“I did not have any symptoms, maybe because I am vaccinated,” he said. “I was spreading the virus without knowing.”

Updated: December 14th 2021, 9:46 PM