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Coronavirus: Jordan arrests more than 1,600 for breaking curfew

People who violate curfew to be quarantined for 14 days and could be sentenced for up to a year in prison
A labourer sprays disinfectant in Jordan's archaeological city of Petra, south of the capital Amman (AFP)

Hundreds of people have been arrested in Jordan after violating a curfew aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in the kingdom.

A security official told AFP that 1,657 people had been arrested across Jordan since the curfew came into effect on Saturday.

Those arrested were placed in quarantine centres run by the army.

The government has warned that people caught breaking the rules would be quarantined for 14 days and could also face up to one year in prison.

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The kingdom has reported 127 cases of the Covid-19 virus so far, but no officially declared deaths in the country of around 10 million people.

Jordan imposed the curfew after citizens failed to heed instructions not to leave home except for emergencies, and it has deployed the army to enforce the measure.

"The curfew will remain in place until further notice and you must stay at home and refrain from violating the precautionary instructions," government spokesman Amjad Adayleh said in a press conference.

He said the government would from Tuesday launch a scheme "to deliver basic necessities such as bread, drinking water and medicine to the homes of citizens".

In the capital on Tuesday, a fleet of 190 buses chartered by the municipality started to deliver bread directly to homes, while pharmacies and water distributors have been authorised to make home delivery sales.

Jordan has also banned travel between provinces, sealed off Amman and suspended public transport and flights.

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