Jordan will close its main land border crossing with Syria after a spike in local transmission of Covid-19 cases were introduced through its northern neighbor, according to the government.
The decision to close the Jaber border crossing into Syria for a week starting on Thursday was made by the interior minister based on recommendations from a government committee overseeing borders and airport affairs, the Jordanian prime ministry said in a statement.
“The source of the majority of these cases is the Jaber border crossing and immediate measures must be taken to stop the spread,” Jordan's Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said in the meeting with the committee according to the prime ministry Twitter account.
Razzaz said the government will be reviewing measures at the all crossings including those with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Land border crossings, which have been open to commercial traffic, are a vital trade lifeline for Jordan.
“We have to reconsider our measures at the border crossings because they have become a source of transmission of the pandemic locally,” the prime minister said.
At least 25 new locally transmitted cases were recorded in the 24-hour period since Tuesday morning, according to the prime minister.
The Jordanian health minister, Dr. Saad Jaber, has been tasked with coordinating with relevant authorities on taking necessary health measures including quarantining workers at the Jaber border crossing, the government said in a statement.
Some background: Jordan had one of the strictest lockdowns regimes in the world starting in March. The measures have kept the number of infections and deaths low compared to other countries.
While restrictions have been eased domestically, all commercial air travel with the exception of repatriation flights remain suspended.
Last week, Jordan postponed plans to resume flights to several countries deemed to be low risk for Covid-19 due to what it called “instability of the epidemiological situation worldwide” and “the sharp increase in Covid-19 cases.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, Jordan has 1,283 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.