With virus spiking, Jordan's king swears in new Cabinet

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan's King Abdullah II on Monday swore in a new prime minister and Cabinet, tasking the new government to manage the country through an economic and health crisis as it faces a growing wave of coronavirus infections.

After his predecessor, Omar Razzaz, resigned last week, the king named Bisher al-Khasawneh as the current prime minister.

Al-Khasawneh has held a variety of Cabinet positions in the past and worked as an advisor to the king.

Abdullah also shakes his coalition and each year or two appoints his new prime minister and cabinet.

While significant legislative shifts are not expected, the shift in governance tends to allow the public to respond during tough times.

There are 31 ministers in the current government, but there were more than half who served in previous governments.

Ayman al-Safadi, one of them, has retained his work.

In recent years, Jordán has faced issues as well as national difficulties including high unemployment , inflation and corruption, because its population has been burdened with the surge of refugees who are escaping war in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

After a strict lockdown appeared to bring the coronavirus crisis under control, the rate of infections has skyrocketed since the economy was reopened.

For its treatment of this pandemic the former government was blamed.

Public outrage was intense over the loss of democracy and right of speech since regimes at the beginning of the pandemic declared emergency and lock-down.

In his letter designating Khaswneh as prime minister, Abdullah said the formation of this government comes at an “ exceptional time ” and called on the new government to improve the healthcare system as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis.

Al-Khasawneh vowed in a letter to the king to "address the coronavirus epidemic by balancing the citizens' health and sustainability of work and production and reducing the consequences on the national economy.”

Jordan has 24,926 cases, including 181 suicides, reported by virus.

Al-Khasawneh is to administer polls November 10.

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