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start of strict containment in Lebanon in the face of the outbreak of contamination

The country of the Cedar begins, Thursday, a strict confinement for a period of eleven days, imposed by the authorities in order to slow an outbreak of new cases of Covid-19. The country of six million inhabitants has so far recorded 1,740 deaths linked to the epidemic.

Lebanon began, Thursday, January 14, a particularly strict confinement imposed by the authorities for eleven days in order to slow the exponential progression of coronavirus cases and relieve a hospital sector under pressure.

A 24-hour curfew went into effect until January 25 after some hospitals began to run out of beds to treat patients with the novel coronavirus.

Just hours after the lockdown began, residents were already braving restrictions in some areas of Beirut and the suburbs with largely empty streets.

Mini-markets, grocery stores and bakeries remained open to serve local residents, who moved despite the ban, while Internet users shared photos of traffic jams on a street in the capital on social networks.

The internal security forces, however, estimated the level of compliance with the midday curfew at 94%, while the police and municipal police carry out regular patrols and have set up mobile roadblocks to control traffic. cars and sanction offenders.

Under the new measures, the Lebanese can officially not leave their homes during this lockdown, not even for food shopping or exercise for example, while supermarkets remain open to make only deliveries.

In recent days, the Lebanese have flocked to supermarkets and pharmacies to get supplies.

“There are no more ordinary patients”

Since the end of December, Lebanon has experienced an exponential spread of the virus, with daily peaks never seen since the appearance of the pandemic in February 2020.

Patients have had to wait hours in the emergency room for hours on end before getting an intensive care bed. Some have even been forced to seek treatment at home or in their car.

On Thursday, the director of the Lebanese hospital Geitawi, Father Pierre Yared, spoke of an “exceptional situation”, reporting an influx of new patients with Covid-19 during the night. He told AFP that admissions to the hospital’s emergency department had increased by “30 to 40%”.

“The emergency department is full of coronavirus patients, there are no more ordinary patients,” he added.

The country of six million inhabitants has so far recorded 231,936 cases, including 1,740 deaths. And it continued to break records, peaking at 5,440 new cases on Friday.

Travel certificates – to go to a doctor or to the airport for example – are possible by sending an SMS or by completing an online form set up by the authorities.

There are also some exceptions for the travel of health personnel, journalists and food sector employees.

“Very concerned”

The current outbreak of the virus is largely due to the easing of restrictions during the holiday season, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs that were able to stay open until 3 a.m. And this exponential spread spared almost no one.

On Wednesday, the interim Minister of Health, Hamad Hassan, was hospitalized after contracting the Covid-19, according to official media.

Some fear that the strict measures now in force will worsen the living conditions, already largely precarious, of vulnerable families in a country in the grip of its worst economic crisis in decades and where half of the population lives below the poverty line .

“We are very concerned that vulnerable families and their children will be on their own,” the NGO Save the Children warned on Monday.

Faced with the magnitude of the double health and economic crisis, the World Bank on Tuesday approved emergency aid of 246 million dollars (202 million euros) to come to the aid of 786,000 Lebanese. But the modalities and the date of disbursement of this aid are not yet clear.

Since the fall of 2019, Lebanon has experienced its worst economic and financial crisis in decades, leading to a 19.2% drop in GDP in 2020, triple-digit inflation and large-scale impoverishment, estimates the World Bank.

The economic crisis has been aggravated by political instability that has persisted since October 2019 and the global pandemic, which has already forced the country to declare several lockdowns since March 2020.

With AFP

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