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Gearing up for the herculean task ahead

Mar 23,2020 - Last updated at Mar 23,2020

Placing the rights of the many ahead of individual preferences, many countries in the world have started implementing stricter measures in light of the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.

Being a step ahead of many other nations, Jordan has implemented an indefinite nationwide curfew with the aim of enforcing social distancing practices and thereby breaking the potential chain of transmission, barring infected people from coming into contact with other members of society.

Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh on Monday announced that the curfew, which entered its third day, will continue until further notice, urging the public to “prepare ourselves for a difficult stage”.

Anticipating possible worst-case scenarios of stampedes and the possibility of crowding, which provides a conducive environment for the spread of the virus, the government has not entertained the idea of softening the curfew rules for a specified period of ti­­­­­me for the public to stock up on daily necessities.

Instead, the government said that pharmacies and bakeries will open as of Tuesday but will not sell directly to citizens, noting that medicines and bread will be delivered by municipalities, water distribution companies and other partners.

It is too early to assess the effectiveness of this plan, but shortcomings are expected given the nature of this herculean task of providing vital delivery of basic supplies to ­­a 10 million-strong population.

This is the time to harness the full potential of technological solutions — mainly delivery technology — and to bank on the capabilities of Jordanian professionalism, which will not fail us, in ensuring the smooth delivery of basic needs to the doorsteps of the housebound public.

Taking a cue from Wuhan in China, the original epicentre of the pandemic, which has reported no new case for three straight days, and other countries which imposed similar measures, the implementation of a firmer lockdown is vindicated.

It is unfortunate to see that a small portion of the population still violates the curfew order. Over 800 people have been arrested for violating the curfew orders. And the government is forced to install “quarantine stations” for lawbreakers in these challenging times.

They forget the avalanche of news emerging from affected countries and the high price they pay: Don’t underestimate the threat of the coronavirus.

The state is vigilant and has taken measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus on a war footing. Given the nature of the elusive and dangerous COVID-19, it is too early to relax the guard.

These are times to put our responsibilities as citizens above our individual rights and make a collective effort to rein in the pandemic.

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