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Gov’t bans certain foodstuff from Syria, due to spread of cholera

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The ban on imports of certain foodstuff from Syria will not affect the Jordanian market, unless the ban includes goods transiting through this neighboring country, said Chairman of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce (JCC) Nael Kabariti.اضافة اعلان

His statement came in response to the Syrian ministry of health announcement that the death toll from cholera had risen to 14 deaths and 201 cases so far.

According to Kabariti, the government decision does not involve “canned and processed food”, only raw food items, “for fear of contamination with cholera”.

He said that “Jordan’s imports from Syria are limited to certain fruits and vegetables, and other kinds of commodities that need permits (to be imported). That is why the decision will not affect the local market unless the ban includes goods transiting through Syria.”

Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply spokesman Yanal Barmawi told Jordan News that “Jordan imports its needs of food commodities from different sources only if they meet health and safety standards.”

Member of the National Committee for Epidemiology, Najwa Khoury, told Jordan News that “cholera spread is linked to environmental pollution and inadequate access to clean water.”

But if “sometimes people infected with cholera do not develop any symptoms, we have to ensure that our water resources are not affected by wastewater in Syria. Also, it is important to monitor diarrhea cases because cholera is a diarrheal infection,” she warned.

Khoury advised Jordanians to boil drinking water as a precautionary measure, and not to underestimate symptoms of diarrhea.

“It is important that we make sure that no contamination reaches the Jordan Valley water channel. It is essential that we monitor all water sources and use surveillance cameras if needed,” she stressed.

Khoury added that testing for cholera at border crossings is hard, “since such tests can only be made through a stool or rectal swab sample”.

One step that could be taken was the government decision, on Monday, to prevent the entry of raw goods and juices from Syria; exceptions made for canned goods.

Advisor at the Prime Ministry for epidemiological affairs Adel Al-Belbeisi said that “the government has set harsh conditions at the border with Syria to prevent cholera from spreading to the Kingdom.”

He pointed out that the ministry examines 15 percent of the daily cases of diarrhea that reach public hospitals, to ensure that there are no cholera cases.

Jordan imports from Syria are estimated by the Jordan Chamber of Industry to stand at $56.9 million.

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