Published: 2021-02-22 14:02
Last Updated: 2021-03-05 19:27
Monday, the head of the Epidemic Assessment Committee, Saad Al-Kharabsheh, said in press statements that Jordan entered a new COVID-19 wave at the beginning of February.
Kharabsheh added that Jordan has witnessed a gradual increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, in addition to the heightening of the PCR positivity rate, for about three weeks. He noted that the death rates however, have remained within control, "and this is reassuring."
He pointed out that hospital admission rates are still very reasonable, and the health sector's readiness is high, pointing out that the occupancy rate in hospitals has not exceeded 20 percent, which means that about 80 percent of hospital beds are unoccupied.
Kharabsheh indicated that there is a fear that this wave will become more severe as the days progress, especially since most of the sectors have been reopened. "It is known that in exchange for openness, there will be an increase in the number of coronavirus cases."
He attributed the rapid spread of infections to the mutated COVID-19 strain in Jordan, which proved to be more infectious by 50-70 percent, explaining that Ministry of Health indicators have showed that the virus is increasingly spreading in the capital, Amman.
Kharabsheh added that the reopening of a number of sectors since the beginning of February, paired with the return to 'normalcy' also contributed to the increase in cases.
He added that the reduction of curfew hours, abolishing the Friday total lockdown, the lack of commitment witnessed by citizens and the failure to adhere to home quarantine also attributed to the increased number of COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom.
Kharabsheh said that five percent of those infected with COVID-19 are hospitalized, and that most of the cases are in home quarantine. He said that those who do not adhere are "ticking time bombs" and may pose severe danger to everyone in Jordan.
He indicated that there is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccination supplies in Jordan, but this is the case worldwide. Kharabsheh pointed out that there are about 100 countries who still do not have a single dose of vaccines.
He explained that the total number of people who received the two doses of the vaccines in Jordan has reached 30,000, and the total of those who received one dose of the vaccine was 50,000.
He stressed that he is counting on vaccines to mitigate the new COVID-19 wave, adding that the ministry will need at least a year to vaccinate a reasonable proportion of people in order to achieve herd immunity, due to the scarcity of vaccines.
Kharabsheh revealed that in two months from now, at least three to five million doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be available in Jordan, stressing that with an abundance of vaccines, the ministry will be able to vaccinate most of the Jordanian people within weeks.
He indicated that adherence to preventive measures is the only weapon to prevent COVID-19 infections in the absence of vaccinations, adding that "the risk of the coronavirus is increasing in Jordan and the whole world."
He said that there are indications that some measures may be taken in light of the surge in COVID-19 cases which include the return of Friday total lockdowns and increasing curfew hours.
"The government may resort to these two recommendations, and these are the minimum number of measures that can be taken to limit the spread of the pandemic."
Kharabsheh stressed that the aforementioned restrictions have a clear and positive effect on the pandemic situation in Jordan, noting that sectors that have recently been reopened will not be shut down once more.