Concerns over the threat of coronavirus looming over Lebanon have increased, especially among parents with children at schools, at the confirmation of 4 cases.
Social media has been flooding with people expressing their concerns and protesting against what they deem to be weak measures from the government to protect the citizens.
Meanwhile, the government was considering deciding whether or not to suspend school activities for the next 3 weeks. On Friday, February 28th, minister of information Manal Abdel Samad announced that a decision will be taken within the next 48 hours.
However, the decision came faster, as it should. The media office of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education issued its statement on the same day, after consulting with the Minister of Public Health Hamad Hassan.
“In the interest of the students’ health and their families,” the statement said, and “as a precaution” all educational institutions in Lebanon will close down as of Saturday and until March 8th.
“Dr. Tariq Al Majzoub requests all educational institutions from kindergartens, schools, high schools, vocational institutes, and universities to close their doors starting from the morning of Saturday, February 29th, until Sunday evening, March 8th, 2020,” the statement announced.
It explained that “this procedure was made to follow up on health developments,” adding in conclusion that “with awareness and cooperation, we can overcome all crises.”
This decision of the ministry of education was announced after the fourth case of coronavirus was confirmed at the Governmental Rafic Hariri University Hospital, on Friday, February 28th.
Both health and education ministries stressed the importance of avoiding panic and seeking ways for hygiene to protect one’s health and wellbeing.
Coronavirus, like any other virus, spreads from person to person in close proximity, similar to other respiratory illnesses, such as H1N1.
The virus can also be spread by bodily fluid: saliva, mucus, or blood, and also by sneezes and coughs, as the virus travels several meters through the air and can stay suspended for a few minutes.
According to AUBMC, “Schools should ask families to send sanitizer, one soap per child, and disinfecting wipes.” In order to avoid coronavirus, schools should also “use detergents to clean bathrooms at least three times per day.”
AUBMC added that schools should “clean classrooms daily, make sure none of the children at school are sick, tell children not to share their stuff, and teach them how to wash their hands thoroughly.”
Get the latest news and updates about the coronavirus outbreak in Lebanon along with a live monitor of cases in Lebanon as well as resources and information to help you guide the outbreak on our dedicated coronavirus page.