The recent spike in daily coronavirus (COVID-19) case numbers prompted caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan to recommend a repeat of the lockdown scenario that Lebanon has experienced several times this year.
A total lockdown is necessary at this stage in order to regain control over the public health situation, Hasan argued in a statement on Sunday.
His call for a new 2-week lockdown comes after Lebanon registered a record-high number of daily infection cases, 779, on Saturday. This number was later surpassed when over 1,000 new cases were recorded within 24 hours on Sunday.
According to the caretaker Minister, the recommendation comes not just as a result of the high case numbers but also the high number of fatalities caused recently by the virus.
This, coupled with the fact that the country’s hospitals can barely handle any more cases as they come close to reaching their capacity limits, necessitate stricter measures in dealing with the rapidly spreading virus, Hasan said.
He noted that the Health Ministry’s role is to submit a recommendation for the lockdown, but whether or not the procedures and measures are enforced depends on the Interior Ministry.
This was after official mentioned that the lockdown experience of last month “proved its failure because several regions and their individuals did not comply with the law.”
On his part, caretaker Interior Minister Mohammad Fehmi issued a critical statement in which he expressed discontent with Hasan’s remarks.
He affirmed that the security forces, governors, mayors, and municipalities all carry out their duties fully, “to curb the pandemic through the data and information available in their hands, which often reaches them incomplete or at the inappropriate time.”
Fehmi added that the decision to impose a lockdown ultimately belongs to the National Committee to follow up on the Preventive Measures and Procedures to Counter the Novel Coronavirus.
With that said, he pointed out that the Lebanese society “is not a game between hands to be subjected in one week to close and the other to reopen.”
As of the time of writing, Lebanon has 29,303 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 16,959 of which are active.
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