Palestinian Authority also taking precautions

Jordan official says medical staff examining all who enter kingdom

Adnan Ishaq says checks a precautionary measure to prevent spread of new virus; PA premier orders closure of places where infected Korean tourists visited

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Workers wearing protective gears help clean each other's suits after disinfecting against the coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, February 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Workers wearing protective gears help clean each other's suits after disinfecting against the coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, February 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Jordan has begun carrying out medical examinations of all persons arriving at its border crossings and airports as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus, a Jordanian Health Ministry official told a local television channel.

Visitors to the Hashemite kingdom will undergo chest and throat examinations as well as have their temperatures taken, Adnan Ishaq, the ministry’s assistant secretary-general for healthcare, told the Jordanian state-funded Al Mamlaka TV.

Jordanian nationals who display symptoms associated with the coronavirus will be quarantined at a hospital for 14 days after which medical professionals will test him or her for the contagion, he said. Those who receive negative results will be released.

Foreign nationals with symptoms related to the virus will not be allowed to enter Jordan, Ishaq said.

No cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Jordan as of Sunday afternoon.

The first case of the fast-spreading virus was reported on December 31 in China, where over 75,000 persons have since been diagnosed with the virus. More than 2,230 of those who contracted it in China have died.

Countries around the world have stepped up measures to prevent an outbreak in their territories, while flights to China and other Asian countries where cases of the virus have emerged have been canceled.

Palestinians take precautions

On Saturday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh ordered the closure of restaurants and institutions that a group of Korean tourists — who were diagnosed with coronavirus after returning to South Korea — visited earlier in February in the West Bank, according to the official PA news site Wafa.

The Israeli Health Ministry said on Saturday that nine Korean tourists were diagnosed with the virus following a trip to Israel between February 8 and 15. The PA Health Ministry said they also toured the West Bank cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus and Jericho.

“Many of the institutions the tourist delegation visited are known to us and they were told to close their doors and undertake the necessary medical checks to protect their workers and visitors,” Wafa quoted Shtayyeh as saying. “Some others are not known to us. Therefore, we hope that their owners will act responsibly and inform official parties and abide by their instructions. Those who fail to do so will be legally liable.”

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh chairs a cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley village of Fasayil, September 16, 2019. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

Shtayyeh also said that no Palestinian had been diagnosed with the virus yet.

The PA Health Ministry also asked that all persons who came within two meters of the Korean tourists for a minimum of 15 minutes to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

The PA has started to quarantine Palestinians returning from China and nine other countries where the virus has been reported, on a university campus in Jericho, said a Palestinian health source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

It also has taken control of a number of caravans near a hospital in Jericho to house those diagnosed with coronavirus, the source said.

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