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Gov’t launches ‘Salamtak’ webpage for international medical tourists

Travel agencies claim registration procedure excludes them from profits

By Rana Husseini , Petra - Jul 06,2020 - Last updated at Jul 06,2020

AMMAN — The government on Monday launched a webpage titled “Your Safety in Jordan” at www.salamtak.gov.jo for individuals seeking medical care in the Kingdom. 

The webpage lists 15 hospitals and currently allows medical tourists from the Gulf Countries, Palestine, Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, Yemen and Cyprus to apply.

The newly launched website provides information about available medical services, in addition to showing the prices and costs of operations and services offered by the 20 private hospitals participating in the site so far, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported on Monday.

Regarding measures for arriving medical tourists, patients and those accompanying them will be required to produce medical certificates — obtained within 72 hours of travel — indicating that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

Patients will be retested upon their arrival to the designated hospitals, and again within seven and 14 days of their arrival.

Those who test positive for the coronavirus will be hospitalised at Prince Hamzah Hospital, Petra said.

Patients who enter the Kingdom via land or air crossings are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in designated hospitals, followed by an additional 14-day isolation in designated hotels, with only two companions allowed for each patient.

Providing the appropriate mode of transportation for patients to and from the airport or land border crossings is the responsibility of the hospital chosen by the patient. Hospitals can also apply for visa entry on behalf of patients.

Medical tourists and their companions will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom after completing treatment in accordance with their visa validity periods.

To ease payment procedures, the website will launch e-payment services to enable users to benefit from prepayment discounts.

All tourists are requested to instal the “Aman” (Safety) application, which alerts users if they come into contact with a person infected with the virus, upon their arrival to the Kingdom.

The Ministry of Health invited patients to call its hotline at 0096265004545 to make inquiries or complaints, Petra said.

On Sunday, Tourism Minister Majd Shweikeh announced that Jordan received the “Safe Travels” stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in appreciation of the Kingdom’s “successful” measures in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister noted that the government adopted three steps to deal with the virus outbreak, the first being an immediate response that entailed a full nationwide lockdown of all tourist sites and facilities to protect workers in the sector.

The second phase dealt with adaptation and included procedures aimed at protecting and gradually reopening the sector, while the third stage was the recovery stage involving reopening facilities for domestic tourism, she added.

“Our ability to control the pandemic and the fact that our private hospitals have remained free of the COVID-19 virus have contributed to receiving a lot of applications from abroad for medical tourism,” the minister said.

President of the Jordan Private Hospitals Association (JPHA) Fawzi Hammouri told The Jordan Times that the latest government procedures regarding medical tourism will surely boost the economy.

“This is the first step, to open medical tourism and to contact the hospital, and all the relevant authorities will be involved and have access to the government platform and we are hopeful that this will boost the economy,” Hammouri said.

“We will explore the possibilities of opening up to other countries in the near future once we make sure that these experiences have succeeded and that we are able to control the health situation in the Kingdom,” Hammouri added.

Meanwhile, a travel agent, who preferred not to be named, said that the new procedures “will not benefit our businesses, and we are already suffering because of the four-month work stoppage”.

“These services totally exclude us from the equation since the individuals will do their own reservations through the online services, which means we have no role or financial profit,” the travel agent told The Jordan Times.

The travel agent said that agencies submitted several proposals to the Ministry of Tourism during the COVID-19 crisis to protect the sector, which was shut down for three months and is unable to resume work currently because of the current situation worldwide.

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