Jordan allows medical travel from qualified countries

The Jordan Tourism Board has announced a “green list” of 10 countries that will be approved entry to Jordan as soon as the related authorities give their consent. The plan is being confirmed in the hope of attracting foreign tourists, particularly for medical tourism. Can the country’s claimed success in containing COVID-19 improve its positioning as a regional hub for medical tourism?

To be entitled, countries needed to have conducted at least 30,000 COVID-19 tests for every one million citizens, they must have a similar coronavirus curve to Jordan’s, and daily new cases must be below 10 in the last 14 days. Jordan’s government received 411 applications from people wishing to visit for medical tourism in the first two days alone. The majority of these applicants are from Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The countries during the first phase include the Gulf countries, Iraq, Palestine, Algeria, Sudan, Yemen and Cyprus.

Entry procedures will not be complex for tourists, but they will be required to have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving in Jordan and will have to undertake a second test once inside the country. Tourists will also be subject to random checks by authorities during their stay.

King Abdullah has said that all stakeholders must cooperate to facilitate the arrival of patients, while maintaining the highest standards of public health and safety to ensure the epidemiological situation in Jordan remains stable. His Majesty urged capitalising on Jordan’s success in controlling the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to promote Jordan as a medical tourism destination to boost the economy.

The tourism ministry has outlined the medical tourism plan to receive Arab and foreign patients, and the measures in place to facilitate arrival and departure.

A website, administered by the Private Hospitals Association (PHA) in partnership with 14 selected hospitals, has been launched, requiring those seeking treatment in Jordan to register on it. Electronic visa and booking and payment services are available through the website, while a hotline is available for assistance. The platform allows the patients to choose the hospital they wish to be treated at. It is connected to all relevant official bodies, including the Ministry of Interior, to ease the process of obtaining visas for patients and accompanying individuals

The plan also includes the measures that would be taken at hospitals, such as sanitation protocols and other preventive measures.

The PHA says Jordan has the opportunity to capitalise on its success in containing COVID-19, which has bolstered the Kingdom’s position as a regional hub for medical tourism. Private hospitals will be responsible for receiving patients at airports and border crossings, admitting them for treatment within specially prepared and isolated wards, and looking after them until they leave the country. At the end of each patient’s treatment, they will be given the choice to either directly return to their homeland or be booked at a hotel at their own expense for a two-week quarantine period, after which they can tour the Kingdom.