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Compliance not defiance

Mar 26,2020 - Last updated at Mar 26,2020

After imposing some of the most stringent anti-coronavirus measures in the world, Jordan on Wednesday eased restrictions on its nationwide curfew, allowing shops and markets to open from 10am to 6pm.

The government weighed the dilemmas associated with the complete coronavirus lockdown and took notes from the shortcomings in the experience of delivering vital commodities to the doorsteps of a 10 million-strong population before coming to the bold but risky decision to relax restrictions.

Relief packages and precautionary measures have been an integral part of the government’s policy since the onset of the outbreak. And authorities are adamant to ensure that the public has safe access to food and primary commodities amid the Kingdom’s fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Indeed, the government is allowing people to go out on foot to buy groceries at neighbourhood shops to ease daily life in light of the difficult circumstances, but the decision to soften curfew rules came with a warning attached to it: Any crowding or abuses will lead to closing the shops again.

Among all of the strategies and decisions it is making, the government must also give attention to the disbursal of the salaries of private sector employees, so that they can survive the lockdown.

Though a semblance of normalcy has returned to the normally crowded Amman landscape, danger is lurking around every bend. As social distancing became a byword reiterated often by health experts as a technique to limit the spread of the virus, responsible behaviour is duly expected from the public while they venture out on foot for shopping.

Keeping appropriate distance and avoiding touching products on display in shops are small measures we have to adopt in our shopping etiquette.

The rapid spread of the virus is disrupting basic aspects of daily lives across the world, not only in Jordan. Following the government’s regulations, practising the cardinal rule of social distancing and observing stringent personal hygiene can go a long way in the fight to bring the pandemic to its knees.

The fight to contain the virus is not solely in the hands of the government. Preventing the pandemic is a social responsibility. Heedlessness of the government’s measures and irresponsible behaviour will only place this collective fight in jeopardy.

It is indeed a pathetic reality that a small portion of the population remain oblivious to the government’s restrictions and flout curfew orders, sending security personnel into overdrive to maintain order.

If a pandemic cannot bring these few to their senses about the gravity of the situation, security personnel have to make a forceful attempt to enforce lockdown.

As the whole government machinery has embarked on an all-out effort to combat the elusive virus, it is time for us to fulfil our civic duty. Staying at home, self-distancing and washing our hands are acts of altruism in these difficult times.

The success or failure of this life-and-death fight hinges on the public’s cooperation.


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