Health Ministry eases PCR requirements for Jordanians on short trips

1. PCR
A health worker conducting a PCR test in an undated photo. (File Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/JNews)
AMMAN —The Ministry of Health announced that PCR tests will not be required for travelers who arrive back in Jordan 72 hours after their departure.
 اضافة اعلان
Following discussions with the Parliamentary Finance Committee, which reviewed budgetary concerns pertaining to the Ministry of Health and various other ministries, Minister of Health Feras Al-Hawari said that travelers arriving through Jordanian crossings will no longer be required to undergo PCR tests upon arrival, provided that they have a valid test result from the past three days.

According to Bassam Hijjawi, a member of the National Epidemiological Committee, “because of the increased burden resulting from the emergence of Omicron, a new policy has been suggested as a means of easing the traveling process for Jordanian travelers.”  He said that the rule stipulates that an initial PCR test for Jordanian travelers must be conducted in the Kingdom, and if it is negative and not older than 72 hours, then it would stay valid until their return.  

“This is valid for all border authorities and regardless if travelers were in Egypt, Syria or Europe,” he added.

Epidemiology expert Saeed Jaradat told Jordan News that this measure is not necessarily new, but builds on an existing rule. “Originally, this was applied to Jordanian truck drivers who worked outside the country and returned a day later, based on the medical fact that if a driver gets infected during such a trip, the virus would still be within a low detection limit upon the driver’s return to Jordanian borders. This renders the PCR test for such individuals useless, because PCR sensitivity needs 2–3 days for accurate results.”

The policy that applied to truck drivers now applies to Jordanian travelers as well arriving to the country’s borders by air, land or sea, whereas if an individual has been away from the Kingdom for more than three days, then that person must conduct another PCR test upon arrival, Jaradat explained.

All of Jordan’s laboratories near the Kingdom’s borders are required to conduct specialized PCR tests for the detection of Omicron, stated Jaradat.

Despite the sudden arrival of the Omicron variant to the Kingdom, some of the Kingdom’s general pandemic statistics are seeing a decline. “There are currently 1,050 hospitalized patients in the country, which indicates there is a decrease in infections from past weeks.”

Latest statistics, according to Jaradat, show that the occupancy rate for ICU beds in the northern region and middle region is 46 percent, and 16 percent for the south. Occupancy rates for isolation beds in the northern, central, and southern regions are 25 percent, 26 percent, and 10 percent respectively, while the occupancy rates for ventilator systems for the same regions is 30 percent, 25 percent, and 16 percent respectively. 

Hijjawi strongly advises those who have already taken two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to take a booster shot. “To stay safe from the new variants, this is necessary. It is becoming clear to experts that the strength immunity from COVID-19 provided by the first two shots, begins to wane after the passage of six months. To maximize protection from the virus, taking the booster shot is highly encouraged.”

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