US advises citizens against travel to Jordan because of Covid-19 spread

Internal email seen by 'The National' shows US warning to citizens not to travel to Jordan as it adds restrictions on travel to other nations

Jordan, like many nations is seeing a second surge in coronavirus cases. Unsplash
Jordan, like many nations is seeing a second surge in coronavirus cases. Unsplash

The US government advised its citizens on Thursday not to travel to Jordan, citing increased Covid-19 risks.

The decision is part of a major widening of travel restrictions around the world by Washington as a result of the pandemic. But it undermines efforts by Jordan, which has a deep alliance with Washington, to revive its tourism sector.

Jordanian officials lifted most virus restrictions on entry to the country late last year, after initially enforcing strict entry restrictions and quarantines for arrivals.

An internal State Department email seen by The National said the US government now “advises against all travel to Jordan at this time due to the Covid situation".

The email, dated on Thursday, said the travel advisory for Jordan was being raised from level three, “reconsider travel”, to level four, “do not travel”.

The Jordan Travel Advisory was also updated on the State Department website.

It also lists several areas where it advises US citizens already in Jordan not to visit because of terrorism and crime.

A surge in coronavirus deaths and infections in Jordan prompted the authorities to increase a curfew and further restrict business hours in the last two months.

The authorities also toughened penalties for breaches of virus measures.

The country has been in recession since last year and unemployment is officially at a record high of 25 per cent. Many jobs tied to tourism were lost, with tourist numbers falling sharply since the pandemic began.

The State Department said on Monday it would raise the highest advisory rating to cover about 80 per cent of countries, because of the pandemic's spread.

The department added 116 countries this week to its level four travel caution.

Among them in the Middle East are Egypt, Turkey and Israel. Many European countries are also on the level four list, including Britain, Germany and Switzerland.

Updated: April 22, 2021 07:29 PM

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