March 20, 2020 / 8:04 PM / 3 months ago

Jordan announces lockdown from Saturday to combat coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Jordanian taxi drivers wear a face masks amid concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) as Greater Amman Municipality employees sanitizes public transport at one of stations, in Amman, Jordan, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan will impose a nationwide lockdown from Saturday to combat the coronavirus, barring people from moving around the country except for emergencies, the government said.

The measures apply from 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) on Saturday until further notice, government spokesman Amjad Al Adailah said.

King Abdullah has enacted an emergency decree giving the government sweeping powers to enforce an army-imposed curfew and other measures that restrict civil and political liberties.

Jordan’s army sealed off the capital from the rest of the country on Thursday, putting its 10 million people on lockdown to prevent the virus from spreading.

Health Minister Saad Jaber said Jordan had 85 confirmed cases of coronavirus, after 15 new cases were identified.

Jordan has closed land and sea border crossings with Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Israel, and suspended all incoming and outgoing flights since Tuesday.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Peter Graff and Edmund Blair

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