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China returnees may face two-week observation

By Maram Kayed - Jan 27,2020 - Last updated at Jan 27,2020

A medical staff member (left), wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city, takes the temperature of a man at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on Saturday (AFP photo)

AMMAN — Jordanians returning from China may be placed under observation at a public hospital for two weeks upon their arrival, as the Kingdom intensifies checks at its airports and ports in new attempts to keep Coronavirus outside its borders.

Minister of Health Saad Jaber said in a statement shared with The Jordan Times that there is a “holistic plan to tackle the virus”, which specifies a possibility of placing Jordanians in a hospital upon their return from China under the supervision of a team specialised in bacterial chemical warfare.

Jaber mentioned that 55 Jordanians in China out of the 59 who had informed the embassy of their intention to return to the Kingdom are scheduled to return in the following week.

“Jordan will evacuate every citizen who wishes to return from China,” he added.

The ministry's preparedness measures, according to the statement, include conducting the necessary laboratory tests to detect the virus, assembling 10 field hospitals ready for use in the event of the disease reaching the Kingdom and drawing up a plan to deal with preventing the virus’ spread within schools.

Assistant secretary general for the ministry’s healthcare department, Adnan Ishaq, said it is “most probable” that Jordanians due for evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan will spend 14 days in Al Bashir Hospital or Prince Hamza Hospital, pending confirmation of their health.

He explained that the incubation period for Coronavirus ranges between two days and 14 days, and therefore a plan was made to impose a quarantine on returnees from China until the necessary tests are conducted.

As for a newly discovered treatment announced by China on Sunday, Ishaq confirmed that the ministry is in “constant contact” with its Chinese counterpart and the World Health Organisation and if the treatment is approved, “it can be circulated around the world for use, including to Jordan”.

Director General of the Jordanian Maritime Authority Mohammed Salman said in a statement that the authority has informed its crews and cadres to perform “sensory detection” on all ships entering Jordanian territorial waters.

The authority added that its staff “conduct a thorough physical examination of every ship entering Jordanian territorial waters, check their path history and conduct a full medical examination of its passengers and crew upon arrival”.

Salman pointed out that if suspicion arises that there is any abnormal infection among the ship’s crew, it is prevented from docking and remains in the territorial waters until it is confirmed that all personnel are clear.

“The captain of the ship is obligated to submit a health declaration for all members of his crew and a free-of disease certificate. It is also worth pointing out that during the next 48 hours, there is no ship coming from China to the port of Aqaba,” he concluded.

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