AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan said on Thursday it will partially resume commercial flights from August to a limited number of European and Asian countries on an internationally approved safe list.
Government spokesman Amjad Adailah told state-owned Al Mamlaka TV that regular commercial flights from Alia international airport, suspended since March, could begin in the first or second week of August.
Passengers from the safe country list that includes Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Hong Kong and Thailand would be allowed into Jordan and the list could extend depending on the state of the pandemic, he added.
Gulf countries, where tens of thousands of Jordanians live and work are not on the list so far, Adailah added. Some have seen a surge in coronavirus infections recently.
The kingdom has, since the closure of the airport in March, allowed repatriation flights that brought home over 20,000 stranded citizens in the Gulf, the United States and Europe. Business lobbies are urging the government to speed up the resumption of flights to help salvage a hard-hit tourism industry that was enjoying an unprecedented boom before the crisis hit.
The government last month lifted remaining restrictions on most activities, including reopening hotels and cafes. Schools remain closed however, and weddings, conferences and festivals not permitted.
Jordan has withstood the COVID-19 pandemic better than most regional neighbours after taking early steps in mid-March to restrict the mobility of its 10 million people, sealing its borders, imposing a state of emergency and a night curfew.
The kingdom has recorded minimal cases in the last few weeks with most infections from people coming from abroad.
The country has recorded 1,201 cases with ten deaths.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)