COVID-19 outbreak among Jordan’s workforce requires coordinated response

2 Oct 2020

On 30 September, Jordan recorded 1,767 new Covid-19 cases, the highest daily spike since the start of the outbreak. Among these are 600 cases from one garment factory in the Al Dulayl industrial zone.

Situated 50 kilometers from Amman, the Al Dulayl industrial zone is one of the three main development zones that host exporting garment factories. There are over 76,000 workers in the garment sector in Jordan, and migrant workers comprise around 75 per cent of the total workforce. Bangladeshi nationals make approximately 60 per cent of the sector’s foreign workforce, followed by Indian, Sri Lankan, Nepali, Burmese and Pakistani workers. These workers live in dormitories adjacent to the factories in which they work.

Since the news of the outbreak, Better Work Jordan Enterprise Advisors have been remotely working with our participating garment factories to better understand the situation and provide the best support possible to factory management.

So far, two garment factories, one located in the Al Dulayl industrial zone and another in Al Karak, reported Covid-19 cases among their staff and workers and closed their businesses for one week. Factory facilities including dorms and the canteen have also followed the Jordanian government instructions, including facilities being sanitized regularly and infected workers being quarantined in a separate dorm.

Migrant workers have also been quarantined inside their dorms and are not allowed to leave the factory premises to promote containment of possible infection. Garment factories have continued to provide migrant workers with their meals inside their dormitories, and several factories have set up mobile supermarkets to supply workers with their daily needs for groceries. One garment factory has also set up emergency isolation apartments with a capacity of 20 persons for any potential future risks among their workers.

All Jordanian and Syrian refugee workers in exporting main units have been instructed to observe home quarantine guidelines and limit outside interaction to essential needs. This has curbed the spread of the coronavirus, and they have continued to receive their salaries based on the Jordanian Defence Orders.

Since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, Better Work Jordan has adopted innovative approaches to maintain its direct line with affiliated factories and their Jordanian and migrant workers through virtual advisory and training services. Better Work Jordan, in collaboration with its national partners, will continue their efforts to support factories during the health emergency to protect the workers’ health and financial protection throughout the pandemic.

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