Jordanian security authorities detained 227 people for violating a nationwide curfew that went into effect yesterday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, state news agency Petra reported.
Security patrols across the kingdom arrested the violators and handed them over to specialised security centres to start legal procedures against them, the agency added.
Violating the curfew is punishable with one year in prison and an unspecified fine without a trial, according to Petra.
A spokesman for Jordan’s General Security Department vowed zero tolerance in enforcing the curfew and urged people to stay at home.
The curfew went into effect at 7am (0500 GMT) yesterday and is to stay in effect until further notice.
In case of medical emergencies, people are asked to call the civil defence authorities rather than head to a hospital.
Doctors and nurses are exempted from observing the curfew.
On Tuesday, the Jordanian government is to announce the specific times and procedures to allow people to buy basic necessities.
Jordan, which has reported 69 confirmed coronavirus cases, declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as part of a series of measures aimed at preventing further spread of the virus.
The armed forces have been deployed at entrances and exits of cities, public and private institutions have been shut down and all flights to and from Jordan have been halted.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab asked the security forces yesterday to enforce stricter measures to keep people indoors and prevent gatherings to curb a coronavirus outbreak.
In a speech, Diab said this would include patrols and checkpoints, calling on the Lebanese to stay home and only go out if “absolutely necessary”.
ALGERIA CASES RISE
Algeria said that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had risen to 139 from 95.
Algeria has stopped international and domestic travel, closed mosques, cafes and restaurants and told half of state employees to stay at home to try to limit the spread of the virus.
TRUCE CALL WELCOMED
Libya’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) yesterday followed the Tripoli-based government in welcoming a call for a pause in fighting to allow the country to focus on the danger from the coronavirus.
“The General Command is committed to stopping fighting so long as the other parties abide by it,” it said in a statement.
The LNA has been trying since last year to capture the capital Tripoli, seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), which had already endorsed a ceasefire.
LNA shelling of the area around Tripoli had continued this week, including an attack that killed four girls and young women on Thursday.
The United Nations and some individual countries had urged warring parties to stop fighting to make it easier to deal with the virus, although no cases have yet been confirmed in Libya. The LNA said its backing for a halt in fighting was “despite repeated violations and non-commitment to it” by the GNA forces.
Egypt yesterday ordered mosques and churches to shut their doors to worshippers in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, after calls for the government to follow steps taken by neighbouring countries. Egypt has so far registered 285 confirmed coronavirus cases including eight deaths.
Many on social media had criticised the government for not cancelling weekly Friday prayers and masses at which worshippers crowd into mosques and churches.
The Ministry of Islamic Endowments said it would shut all mosques for two weeks “for the necessity of preserving souls”, but will allow them to broadcast prayer calls through loudspeakers. Egypt has more than 100,000 mosques.
Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top authority, said it would shut its historic mosque in old Cairo starting from yesterday “for the safety of worshippers, and until the end of the coronavirus epidemic”. On March 15, Al-Azhar’s Council of Senior Scholars said that governments had the right to shut mosques “to protect people from the coronavirus”. Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church had ordered all its churches to shut their doors and suspend masses for two weeks over coronavirus fears, it said in a statement.
The church also banned visits to monasteries and closed condolences halls attached to churches. Each parish will name only one church for funeral prayers and the sermons will be restricted to the family of the deceased.
Christians represent around 10% of Egypt’s population of 100mn, according to unofficial estimates. The vast majority of the country’s Christians are orthodox. The Coptic Catholic Church followed the same approach and ordered its followers yesterday to pray at home until further notice.
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