Days after a total curfew went into effect, people clamored to receive bread distributions from government trucks, the emergency hotline went offline after it apparently became overloaded with phone calls, and some reported they had nothing at home to eat.
But on Tuesday, the government backtracked, loosening restrictions on movement. After four days of total lockdown, people were allowed to leave their homes on foot for essential trips, such as purchasing food from small convenient stores and obtaining medicine. A curfew is still in place from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.
“There was a collective exuberant response when the Prime Minister announced last night that the small grocery stores would be opened today and you can walk to them,” Adam Coogle, Amman-based Deputy Director at Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, told CNN.
Jordan’s General Security Department said 1,657 people were arrested as of Monday for violating the total curfew put in place on Saturday morning. Offenders face up to a year in prison.
On Wednesday, the government warned that authorities may again take harsh measures in the days to come. “These is an increase in the number of infected people and this is an uncomfortable indication and calls for hardening (measures),” said Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adayleh.