Gov’t ‘fully transparent’ in disseminating COVID-19 information - Jordan PM

Razzaz appealed to the public to adhere to safety measures, particularly the use of face masks

  
Jordan's Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz speaks to the media during a news conference in Amman, Jordan April 9, 2019.

Jordan's Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz speaks to the media during a news conference in Amman, Jordan April 9, 2019.

REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

AMMAN — Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Omar Razzaz on Sunday stressed that his government is “committed to full transparency and disclosure” when it comes to the publication of coronavirus-related information.

The prime minister rejected choosing news from multiple sources, which sometimes offer conflicting information, Razzaz said in his Sunday weekly address.

"Recently, we have seen a multiplicity of sources and contradictions in some cases, which created confusion among the public. This is unacceptable because the citizen's health is at stake," Razzaz said.

The premier noted that he had instructed the state minister for media affairs, the minister of health, the official spokesperson of the national epidemiological committee or the competent minister and the director of the coronavirus crisis cell operations to regularly hold daily press briefings, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

"We are committed and responsible for all that is issued in this briefing in terms of information accuracy and transparency, and it is the only approved source," Razzaz said.

He warned that the responsibility for any opinions or viewpoints or judgements that come out before or after the briefing rests with those who issued them, and they will solely be held accountable for any consequences resulting therefrom.

Highlighting the government’s continued response to the pandemic, the prime minister explained that the Cabinet “always seeks a balance” between health and economic dimensions and timely decision-making based on the recommendation and insights provided by all stakeholders.

However, Razzaz indicated that all of the decisions taken by the government remain open to appraisal, saying: "We do not hesitate to correct or review if we find better solutions. This is the approach pursued globally."

Regarding the reopening or shutdown of some sectors, the prime minister said: "It was normal to see opponents and proponents of such decisions. However, the direction of our compass has always been clear, pointing at protecting the health and livelihoods of Jordanians."

He pointed out that the Kingdom managed over the past seven months to double its medical capabilities in terms of ventilators, bed capacity and health workers.

"Our goal is not to overburden our health system and cadres so that they do not collapse, God forbid, as happened in some countries," Razzaz said.

Razzaz appealed to the public to adhere to safety measures, particularly the use of face masks, adding it was "painful to see low commitment to this simple and greatly efficient protocol”.

"We issued Defence Order No. 16 as a deterrent, but it will not be a substitute for the citizen's conviction to protect himself, his family, and his country. Everyone needs to be a role model, especially ministers and officials. Wearing a face mask is mandatory and required, and we will hold the non-compliant accountable," Razzaz concluded.

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