Coronavirus: Jordan health minister warns of second wave

Saad Jaber dropped his triumphant tone after announcing the end of the contagion in the kingdom on Sunday

epa08468944 People enjoy drinks and food at a terrace of a restaurant which reopened to the public for the first time since the start Of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic restrictions, in Amman, Jordan, 06 June 2020. Jordan has, starting 06 June, allowed cafes and restaurants to reopen to public attendance for the first time since confinement measures to fight the spread the COVID-19 Coronavirus, had been put in place in March 2020. Most other sectors of life are due to open the same week, while full Friday curfew is to be lifted, and daily curfew times change to last between midnight and 06AM from 06 June.  EPA/ANDRE PAIN
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Jordan’s health minister backtracked after announcing the coronavirus outbreak in the kingdom was at an end this week, calling for vigilance against the possibility of a second wave of infections.

Saad Jaber told Al Mamlaka television on Sunday that the virus "has dried up and died in Jordan" and there was no longer "internal transmission".

His comments drew outrage on social media, with Jordanians saying he compromised efforts to convince people to adhere to social distancing and other containment measures.

On Monday, he said he was only simplifying “specialist medical and technical” terms.

“The start of a second wave in China and in many other countries in the world requires more caution and implementing precautionary health measures,” Mr Jaber told official media.

He said the authorities responded efficiently to the outbreak.

"This achievement needs to be preserved through wearing masks, adhering to social distancing, avoiding assembly, especially in closed areas, and personal hygiene and continued disinfection,” Mr Jaber said.

On Monday, the kingdom's health ministry announced seven new cases, including three Jordanians who came from Saudi Arabia and two non-Jordanian lorry drivers. The ministry provided no information about the remaining two cases.

Jordan’s government has officially confirmed 1,128 cases of the coronavirus and nine deaths.