In this edition of Middle East Matters, we are continuing our continuous coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic in the region. Jordan is smoothing its coronavirus curve after a series of strict measures, including travel bans. We discuss with the Minister of Health Saad Jaber, himself a doctor, how he handled the crisis. In addition, deadly clashes erupted after hundreds of people took to the streets of northern Lebanon, amid falling local currency and soaring food prices.
Jordan has become one of the first countries in the Middle East to ease control over the Covid-19 epidemic. For almost 40 days, daily life was disrupted, the economy paralyzed, the population of 10 million inhabitants divided and the borders closed. Some have described these measures as draconian, but experts say it is thanks to these first measures that the country has managed to maintain a very low death toll, which is currently less than 10.
At the head of the campaign to combat the disease is a man: the Minister of Health Saad Jaber, whose press briefings have become essential on television in Jordan. He joined us from Amman to discuss his response to the crisis.
But first, we take you to Lebanon, following deadly clashes between the demonstrators and the army in the north of the country. Hundreds of people took to the streets this week, defying the lock and the curfew. They expressed their anger at the long-standing economic crisis, which was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. We tell you more.