Is Jordan past COVID-19?

Expert warns of ‘fake reassurance’ as cases stay low

(Photo: Unsplash)
(Photo: Unsplash)
AMMAN – With sectors reopening and nationwide curfew being lifted for the vaccinated, there is a sense among many Jordanians that the pandemic is behind us.اضافة اعلان

“For the past few weeks... the epidemiological situation has been stable, in terms of the number of cases, the positivity rate, and the [hospital] admission rate,” said Mohannad Al-Nsour, a member of the National Epidemiological Committee and executive director of the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network, in an interview with Jordan News.

Indeed, from June 11-18, Jordan’s PCR test positivity rate did not exceed 2.78 percent; the highest number of daily cases reported was 546.

Nsour added that while the situation is reassuring, Jordanians must continue to take preventative measures like wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings of people.

“We’ve entered a stage of reassurance too early; it’s a bit of a fake reassurance,” he explained.

He warned that the recent reopening of many sectors might lead to an increase in cases, but that “generally speaking, the situation is good and hopefully it’ll stay that way.”

While there is cause for hope, new variants pose yet another challenge in the nation’s fight against the pandemic.

According to Minister of Health Feras Al-Hawari in remarks to the press, Jordan recorded 170 cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus that originated in India, which is believed to be more transmissible. According to Hawari, this could lead to a COVID setback in Jordan. 

“The one thing that we’re worried about, and that’s pushing us to be even more cautious, are the mutations we’re seeing… we have to keep tracking them,” said Nsour.

He emphasized the need to focus on vaccine acceptance among citizens, and hoped that 4.5 million people will be vaccinated by September.

“Let’s not forget that a sizable portion of the population has already been infected with COVID-19, around 50 percent,” which – in addition to continued vaccination rollout – will bring the country closer to achieving herd immunity.

Ahmad Sarahneh, an MP and Head of the Lower House Health and Environment Committee, echoed Nsour, telling Jordan News that “it is a dangerous virus and anything can be expected, but we hope that we will not face a third wave as we continue to move forward with vaccination.”

In an op-ed published in Saraha News, former MP Ibrahim Bdour urged caution regarding the future of the epidemiological situation in Jordan.

“It is expected that Jordan will see an increase in the number and percentage of infections in this next stage, but these numbers won’t be like the ones recorded in earlier waves… within 2500 to 3000 daily cases,” he noted.

Like Nsour, Bdour maintained that we should continue to practice caution and take preventative measures.

“Even though we are living in a situation of calm and stability these days, this does not mean that we are in the clear or that we have defeated COVID-19,” he wrote.

He added that it is important not to forget that “the only way to end this virus is to inoculate more than 70 percent of the population…only then can we reopen all our sectors and say that we have defeated the virus.”

Read more National