Lebanese MP Wants Lebanon to Declare a Public Health Emergency Over Coronavirus

Medical professional sterilizing goggles to avoid coronavirus infection
Via Lebanon Express

Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) began to spread in Lebanon, the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 41. But before the number had even crossed the 30-mark, the Health Minister famously declared that things were already out of control.

In light of this slightly unnerving announcement, another Lebanese official dropped an interesting comment.

MP Bilal Abdullah recently voiced his opinion that Lebanon should declare a health emergency to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19).

His comment came after Minister Hamad Hassan marked the end of the coronavirus’s containment phase on March 6th.

“With the Health Minister announcing the transition to the stage of mitigation in relation to the coronavirus epidemic, it has become urgent to declare a health emergency,” Abdullah tweeted.

As to how the health emergency should be implemented, the MP suggested the army’s assistance. He said Lebanon should use the Lebanese Army “to monitor and control the airport, ports, and borders.”

In addition to securing its entrances, the country should establish isolation and treatment centers in all governorates, MP Abdullah advises.

Joining the list

Finally, he stated that the government should “enhance human and material epidemiological surveillance, and provide free laboratory testing of the virus.”

If Lebanon does declare a state of a public health emergency due to the coronavirus, it won’t be the first country to do so.

10 states of the US, for example, have already taken this measure. Moreover, the Philippines and parts of Hong Kong and Japan have followed suit in an attempt to contain the coronavirus.

Typically, a health emergency gives a country more flexibility and options to manage a crisis that threatens its public health. For instance, it allows the state to allocate more resources to fighting the virus.

Several countries have already declared health emergency after the coronavirus spread in them
Paramedic emergency set up outside a hospital in northern Italy. Via Lebanon Express

Likewise, it helps keep gatherings and crowds in check by closing down certain facilities and public places, which Lebanon has already done.

Despite this, the Lebanese government has not yet decided to officially declare a health emergency.

On a side note, on March 10th, Lebanon recorded its first case of death from the coronavirus. The deceased was a 56-year-old man who had been in quarantine since he arrived from Egypt in February.