During an interview with the national TV station Tele Liban, Lebanese caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan praised himself over his achievements regarding the pandemic.
With full confidence, he said about himself, “By saying ‘no need to panic’, Hamad Hassan triumphed.”
“With the pandemic, we scored points, but with this word, we were victorious because I didn’t allow people to be afraid, I had people living in high spirits,” Hassan said, counting the claimed achievements on his fingers.
It is to note that the interview was conducted now as the pandemic rages in the country, Lebanon is breaking its daily records of cases by the thousands, the government is about to implement a national health emergency, and the caretaker prime minister, Hassan Diab, calling it a very critical phase.
The Health Minister probably didn’t consider that it is precisely his catchphrase ‘No Need To Panic’ that has propelled too many people into depreciating the gravity of the situation, hence disregarding the preventive measures.
Maybe seeking to have the people “in high spirits” went too far.
His particular statement of triumph came indeed as a complete shock.
Not that the Lebanese aren’t used to officials claiming non-existent achievements or denying the obvious failures, but because how strikingly evident, in numbers and data, is the catastrophic health situation in the country.
The pandemic, which is under Hasan’s ministerial responsibilities, is out of control and people are dying. There is no triumph there to claim.
The situation in the country under Hasan’s responsibility has been as follows:
Government dues to public hospitals remain unpaid, only 40 percent of the allocated budget for 2019 was paid, and none for 2020, according to The Century Foundation.
Health workers have protested several times for their unpaid salaries.
Minister Hasan has increased the budgets of Hezbollah-sponsored medical institutions and neglected an equal increase for the main hospitals of Lebanon that are dealing with the pandemic and which were, in plus, devastated by the Beirut Blast.
That is to name the most strikingly relevant.
And yet, the health minister is proclaiming a personal triumph in tackling the health crisis in the county. “Hamad Hasan triumphed,” he said about himself.
Furthermore, it was revealed to the public on Monday that Lebanon can not receive the already ordered COVID-19 vaccine because there is a law that needs to be approved.
Weeks after signing the deal for the vaccine, and as Lebanon has entered its most critical pandemic phase, that decision hasn’t yet been taken.
In reality, tragedies are being witnessed at the gates of hospitals. Hospitals are starting to turn away COVID-19 patients. And with the ICUs reaching full capacity, there will be no possibility soon to treat other urgent cases, like heart attacks and the like.
The Lebanese public doesn’t need to have their spirits lifted with misleading statements and denial of the obvious. They need to see the truth of their country, the harsh reality they live in daily, changed for the better so they can live safely and with dignity.
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