The army had to go in and through the Old Souks, on Monday, closing down the Perfumers Souks, the Vegetable Souks, and the Bab al-Ramel. They promptly shut all the gates and firmly ordered everyone to go home.
The shops that violated the quarantine order were sealed with red wax, meaning that they are now subject to judicial decision. They will be prosecuted for breaking the law and endangering the lives of the public during this critical phase.
Many people across different areas in Lebanon haven’t been abiding by the quarantine and hence acting irresponsibly. Many shops in Tripoli stayed open and people were crowding the markets as if everything was normal.
In Beirut, many people would take a leisurely trip down to Al-Manara Corniche and crowd the area, which had prompted a rant by the Journalist Mario Abboud at such a blatant display of carelessness.
The government’s quick response to these violations that weren’t a few is commendable. Many have not been taking the basic steps to limit the spread of the virus, which gave no other choice to the authorities but to order the army and security forces to intervene.
There is some criticism that police officers seem to be fining people in an arbitrary manner. In some cases, such as McDonald’s opening for delivery, it could be said that that is the case.
As for fining people for going out to bike or jog or exercise, the government has clearly specified that people only go out if it is something very urgent or necessary.
Though it is possible that people can just exercise indoors, there is the question of what people with dogs should do.
Nevertheless, there is a lot to criticize about the government’s first response in handling the Coronavirus’ threat in the beginning. This could’ve all been avoided if the government had properly imposed the travel bans from Iran and Italy.
However, as far as the government’s current performance in keeping the Coronavirus from spreading, they are doing a great job, and actually much better than many other countries.
Yet, alone, they can’t achieve this war, not without the people doing their part and doing it impeccably. This is a war for the collective. Should we fail to win it, it is on all of us. There will be no justification to blame the government. This crisis is on all of us to manage, control, and vanquish.
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.