Lebanese Health Minister Says the Danger Level of Coronavirus Has Increased

Lebanon's council of ministers meeting on March 19th
Dalati & Nohra

After exiting the Council of Ministers’ meeting on Thursday, Health Minister Hamad Hasan cautioned that the epidemic has reached a more dangerous level in Lebanon.

What especially caught the public’s eye about today’s government session was the sight of the blue cloths covering the faces of Lebanon’s officials.

This was the first time the ministers were seen wearing face masks in their meetings since the outbreak started in Lebanon last month.

As for the statements that went viral on the Lebanese social media scene this time around, as sometimes happens following a cabinet meeting, they belong to the Minister of Public Health.

Minister Hamad Hasan said the coronavirus has reached a dangerous level
Via Nabil Ismail / Annahar

“For the first time, I’m wearing a face mask because the danger level [of ] has increased,” Minister Hasan told the press in a warning tone.

This warning came hours after the confirmation of 16 new coronavirus cases in the country in the past 24 hours.

The statement also followed the recent detection of “6 new cases of unknown origin, caused by community infection, and this increases the risk,” according to the minister.

The official made a request during the session to ensure that people adhere to the measures issued by Lebanon’s officials, which the Health Ministry has been pointing to in each of its daily COVID-19 reports.

Minister Hasan disclosed that he had “asked security forces to be strict enough to prevent people from leaving their homes.”

On the other hand, his office later denied that the minister had requested “the isolation of some Lebanese areas” due to the heavy spread of the virus in them.

The Health Minister has not only been keen on enforcing the coronavirus-related guidelines on the Lebanese public in general but also on health centers.

Earlier on Thursday, he met with a delegation of the Lebanese Syndicate of Medical Laboratories in his office.

Among the things that MP Hasan reportedly declared during this meeting was a reminder of the responsibilities and obligations of laboratories when dealing with COVID-19 cases.

He insisted on the necessity of reporting positive cases to the Health Ministry’s Epidemiological Surveillance Center, under the penalty of revoking the violator’s laboratory license.

Notably, MTV reported today that some people who get informed that they tested positive for the coronavirus by private laboratories turn off their phones and disappear into hiding.