The Higher Defense Council decided to declare a total lockdown in Lebanon as a result of the recent sharp increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
Headed by President Michel Aoun, the council convened on Tuesday to discuss the latest public health developments and the alarming rise in daily COVID-19 cases.
“Today, we have reached the red line in the number of cases and have reached the stage of extreme danger in light of the inability of hospitals to receive critically ill patients,” caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said after the meeting.
“Today, we took the decision [to declare] a full closure, starting from next Saturday (November 14th) until the 30th of this month,” he announced.
There had been calls for a new total lockdown in Lebanon for weeks as the country broke its daily case record multiple times within a short period, with COVID-19-related deaths rapidly increasing as well.
These developments coincided with the start of the 2020/2021 school year, amid concerns regarding the safety of the school children, despite the adopted safety measures such as social distancing, and online classes on certain days.
In anticipation of the Tuesday Higher Defense Council meeting, the Education Ministry restricted education to online classes on Monday and Tuesday.
During a Monday meeting, caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan said that the total lockdown proposal aims to give the health sector “an opportunity to gather its strength in terms of human cadres and raise their readiness…”
He noted that a number of hospitals were long overdue in preparing special departments for receiving COVID-19 cases.
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