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Jordan to resume regular commercial flights from Sept. 8

AMMAN, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Jordan will resume regular international flights from Sept. 8 to help revive an economy badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, after delaying the move several times over the past month, officials said on Wednesday.

Government spokesman Amjad Adailah told a news conference that passengers entering Jordan would need proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel, alongside a compulsory test on arrival.

He said the rules would include a minimum of one week of self-isolation to a maximum two weeks of quarantine for foreign travellers depending on the severity of the pandemic in countries they came from.

The government had repeatedly postponed reopening Amman’s Alia International Airport, a regional hub, over fears that travellers could bring about a spike in infections. But in recent days worries had mounted about the impact of further delays on the debt-burdened economy.

Jordan has seen almost a doubling of cases in the last month to a total of 2,161 along with 15 deaths - a much smaller known toll than in many other Middle East countries - but authorities remain worried about a severe outbreak.

The closure of Amman’s airport dealt a damaging blow to the aid-dependent economy by paralysing tourism, a major revenue source that was enjoying an unprecedented boom before the pandemic crisis.

The government was also under popular pressure to reopen regular flights to allow the return of thousands of Jordanians who lost jobs in Gulf states due to COVID-19 outbreaks there.

The halt to commercial flight service also inflicted millions of dollars of losses on Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ), the state-owned flagship carrier, industry executives say.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi Editing by Mark Heinrich

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