AMMAN: The Jordanian government has threatened to place the country’s private hospitals under state control to cope with a surge in COVID-19 cases.

In a bid to cope with a sharp increase in demand for hospital and intensive care beds, Minister of State for Media Affairs Sakher Dudin said that the government had set up a number of field hospitals across the kingdom and had rented four private hospitals.

“But the health care system is now on the line with the surge in coronavirus cases,” he said on Sunday.

Asked whether the government would nationalize private hospitals to deal with rising cases, the minister said: “Yes, of course, the government would activate the defense order related to taking over private hospitals and health care providers, if it requires, to slow the spread of coronavirus.”

Jordan has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks with hospital occupancy rates reaching around 70 percent.

Health authorities reported 4,399 new cases of COVID-19 and 98 additional deaths on Saturday, bringing the county’s total cases to 582,133, with 6,472 fatalities.

Jordan has 70 private hospitals, two university hospitals, 31 public hospitals and 15 royal medical services hospitals.

Dudin said that the government had signed deals with COVID-19 vaccine producers to import 10.2 million jabs — enough to vaccinate more than 50 percent of the kingdom’s 10 million population. Some 440,000 doses have already arrived and more than 10 million jabs are to arrive in June, September and December.

Contracts have been signed for the Sinopharm vaccine from China, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, Russia’s Sputnik V and the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.

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