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Renewed Friday lockdown exacerbates economic woes — experts


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — The decision to reimpose all-day curfew on Fridays to curb the spread of the coronavirus comes with a heavy toll, according to a sociologist.
“People are in severe financial stress, and they are the ones who bear the brunt of Friday lockdowns,” sociologist Hussein Khozahe told The Jordan Times over the phone on Saturday.
According to a report issued by the Department of Statistics (DoS), 28 per cent of married Jordanian breadwinners are unemployed, whereas the unemployment rate in the Kingdom reached 23.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
Khozahe said that the decision to reinstate Friday lockdowns did not take into consideration the social, psychological and human dimensions, noting that the Jordanians are currently “troubled over finding a proper way to respond to the ongoing economic catastrophe and livelihood challenges”.
On Thursday, 3,827 COVID cases were recorded, while on Friday the number was 3,644.
The sociologist pointed out that only 5 per cent of establishments in Jordan were non-compliant with defence orders, and 1 per cent of the public did not adhere to those measures and were fined.
“The Jordanian society depends heavily on the people supporting each other financially, but now this support diminished and the focus shifted to avoiding being in the red,” he noted.
There are many other options instead of resorting to total lockdowns, which only lead to further socio-economic damage, he said, suggesting that pedestrian movement be allowed in addition to weighing viable options for the delivery of services.
Khozahe also called for conducting a study regarding the traffic jams and people’s rush to stock up on essentials a few days before the lockdown, flouting the COVID health protocols.
Meanwhile, President of the Amman Chamber of Commerce Khalil Hajj Tawfiq said in a statement made available to The Jordan Times that “the Friday lockdown has inversely impacted the Kingdom’s commerce”.  

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