Some call on the gov’t to not publish the number of daily infections

Daily figures scare citizens, keep tourists away

A healthcare worker conducts a COVID-19 PCR test in Amman. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Publishing the number of cases infected with the COVID-19 virus on daily basis is arousing fear among citizens, many of whom resort to conducting PCR tests regularly, without even having symptoms, more and more voices are saying, asking the government to stop this daily practice. اضافة اعلان

The conditions are different now, in view of the speed at which the Omicron mutant spreads, which is the reason Jordan registers a significant number of cases every day, and of the fact that few of those infected with the variant need to be hospitalized, these voices stress.

The head of the Health Committee at the National Center for Human Rights, Ibrahim Al-Bdour, said that publishing the number of COVID-19 cases on daily basis is useless, suggesting that, instead, the government announce the number of cases on weekly basis.

Bdour told Jordan News that the number of daily cases of COVID-19 infections are of concern to the Ministry of Health, but should not concern citizens in general.

“The Ministry of Health should have knowledge about the exact number of daily cases in order to know what to do and be able to monitor the epidemiological situation in the country, to ensure that it is still under control, but making the number of cases public every day only raises fear and anxiety among citizens,” he said.

Bdour added that that the government should limit PCR examinations to those who have COVID-19 symptoms only, “especially that the examinations are costly both for the state treasury and for the citizens”, adding that when the number of examinations increases, it is only logical that the number of cases increases.

Bdour also said that the majority of those infected do not have symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized.

“Now we are coexisting with Omicron, which is known to spread quickly but does not usually cause severe symptoms,” he said adding that “we should know how to deal with the pandemic, especially that it has been almost two years since we registered the first case of COVID-19 virus in Jordan.”

Member of the National Committee for Epidemiology Najwa Khoury told Jordan News that the main objective of publishing the daily cases of COVID-19 cases is to keep citizens informed about the epidemiological situation and the extent to which it affects the country.

She said that “citizens are getting more afraid of the virus, and the significant number of cases is surely affecting their lives and businesses, which is something that we do not want”.

Khoury also said that it might be preferable to publish the number of cases once a week only. “Now, we have to concentrate on raising awareness among citizens regarding the importance of taking the three doses of vaccine to improve immunity”, as well as on ensuring that they adhere to the required health protocol, including wearing masks.

More concretely, announcing the number of cases on daily basis is affecting the tourism sector significantly, industry people say.

President of the Jordan Hotel Association Abdel Hakim Al-Hindi told Jordan News that most of the hotel reservations for the month of February were cancelled due to the fact that Jordan was classified as a red country.

He added that the government should only announce the number of cases that needed to be hospitalized, to avoid having Jordan classified as a red country, since “the majority of cases do not need to be hospitalized, and suffer from mild symptoms.”

“Why, then, would we announce the daily number of cases and ignite fear among Jordanians and tourists,” he asked.

Hindi stressed that the tourism sector has been going through hard times since the onset of the pandemic and that the government needs to find real solutions to help revive the sector.

A source at the Ministry of Health who spoke to Jordan News on condition of anonymity said that “it is the citizens’ rights to keep updated about the number of cases each day. I believe that if we do not publish the numbers, they will ask us to do so”.

He also said that stopping publishing the number of daily infections is not happening at the time being, and that “publishing the number of cases underscores Jordan’s ability to deal with the pandemic”.

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