The Lebanese government announced Tuesday a “total” containment of the country with “exceptions” for two weeks to cope with a significant increase in cases of the Covid-19 disease. Since the start of the epidemic in February, this small country in the Near East has recorded 95,355 cases, including 732 deaths.
After having succeeded in containing the first wave of the virus between last March and June thanks to an early general closure, Lebanon has been gradually experiencing contamination records since July, despite the isolation of dozens of towns and villages.
Sounding the alarm, the resigning Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, warned that the country had now reached the “red line” and hospitals to their maximum capacity. “We are today at the stage of serious danger due to the inability of public and private hospitals to receive patients in critical condition,” he warned, saying he fears “to reach the stage where people are dying in the streets ”.
“Therefore, today we have taken the decision to completely close” the country from November 14 to 30, he said, citing “exceptions […] for the health sector and other vital sectors ”without further details. According to local media, the decision will exclude the airport as well as bakeries, banks, the national electricity company, the two communications companies as well as factories.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicated at the end of October that 88% of the 305 places in intensive care were occupied in Lebanon. The devastating explosion on August 4 at the port of Beirut, which left more than 200 dead and 6,500 injured, clearly amplified the phenomenon of social contagion.
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Officials are all the more worried about the collapse of the health care system as more than 1,500 medical staff are themselves affected by the virus. The health crisis comes on top of an economic debacle unprecedented in decades, having doubled the poverty rate, pushing economic organizations to oppose a total closure.
“I know very well the extent of the economic damage caused by the closure,” the Prime Minister said on Tuesday. But “without health protection, the means of subsistence are not guaranteed”, he warned.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr