‘COMPREHENSIVE STERILISATION’ ONGOING AS ARCHAEOLOGICAL, TOURIST SITES CLOSE DOORS

All archaeological sites are being “comprehensively sterilised” after being closed to visitors as a part of the government’s measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

“It is critical that the sites are sterilised since they were in direct contact with tourists, who make up the majority of those infected with the virus in the Kingdom,” said Jerash Director of Archaeology and Tourism Ziyad Ghuneimat on Tuesday.

In a phone interview with The Jordan Times, Ghuneimat said that the ancient Ajloun Castle and the Mar Elias site are closed to visitors due to “comprehensive sterilisation”, noting that the sterilisation procedures also include the visitor centre, health units, the artisan market and all tourist paths.

All tourism parks are also closed and a number of previously organised events, such as the Ajloun Spring Festival, were cancelled, Ghuneimat added.

In Jerash, all archaeological sites, including the Roman theatre, have been closed to tourists and local visitors, with sterilisation operations being implemented in cooperation with the Agricultural Directorate and the Greater Municipality of Jerash.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Tourism announced that sterilisation operations began last week, but that they have now expanded to include all ancient landmarks and buildings in touristic cities.

In the south, Madaba’s archaeological and tourist sites were closed for sterilisation, with the sterilisation process extending to tourism hotels and restaurants, according to the governorate’s tourism directorate.

Tafileh Director of Tourism Kholoud Jaraba stated that all of the tourist and archaeological sites at Afrah and the Moroccan mineral pools are closed.

“This is upsetting, as the busy season was just starting with improved weather conditions. We were witnessing a good, active turnout that would have contributed greatly to the economy,” she noted in an official statement.

Dana Biosphere Reserve, which usually receives visitors from mid-March until November of each year, also closed its doors at the start of the opening season for visitors, cancelling all reservations.

The reserve’s director, Aamer Rufou, said that this is “usually the busiest time of year in which foreign and local tourists visit the reserve”. However, Rufou said that the decision to close the popular tourist site came in response to precautionary government measures.

He added that concerned municipalities have sterilised all locations that witness public gatherings, as well as markets.

Source: Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan