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'Gov't may declare national emergency to curb coronavirus'

By JT - Mar 16,2020 - Last updated at Mar 16,2020

Medical workers at Prince Hamzah Hospital are seen in this photo taken Monday recieving a patient believed to be suffering from COVID-19 (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — The government on Monday said it might need to apply the Defence Law to curb a possible spread of COVID-19 as the number of confirmed cases reached 29.

Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said that the government would apply the Defence Law in a bid to protect citizens' lives without affecting their freedoms. 

 Under Article 124 of the Constitution, a law, known as the Defence Law, shall be enacted in the event of an emergency, giving power to the person specified therein to take necessary actions and measures, including the suspension of the operation of the ordinary laws, with a view to ensure the defence of the Kingdom.

The 1992 Defence Law grants the government the authority to restrict public gatherings and citizens' movements and arrest anyone suspected of undermining national security.  

During the daily press briefing, Adaileh announced that Jordan has so far registered 29 cases of coronavirus, including the one that has recovered and left hospital.

Adaileh noted that the quarantined people have been put in five- and four-star hotels in Amman, the Dead Sea area and Aqaba, adding that the government pledges to provide them with all their basic needs.

The minister said that the government has also activated the remote work system and ordered restaurants to refrain from receiving customers and only deliver orders as of Tuesday.

Adaileh said that four people have been arrested for spreading rumours about the coronavirus.  

Health Minister Saad Jaber said that the ministry on Monday tested 200 people who arrived to Jordan from aboard, of which four coming from the UK and Spain tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Jaber said the situation will be difficult to handle if the number of confirmed cases reaches 5,000. 

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