Lebanon to Reopen Monday, Hassan Asks if There's Been a Lockdown
Caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan lamented Friday that an ongoing lockdown that has been running for 12 days has failed to bring down the rate of coronavirus infections in Lebanon, as caretaker Economy Minister Raoul Nehme announced that the country will reopen on Monday.
“The rate of positive tests is still the same at 15%. We were hoping to slash it to 12% or 10%,” said Hassan after a meeting for the country’s anti-coronavirus ministerial committee.
“Has there been really a general lockdown?” Hassan wondered, noting that “what has been achieved as to upping the level of readiness is adding 60 beds at public hospitals and 34 beds at private hospitals.”
“This number is below the needed level and below the aspirations of the Ministry of Public Health,” he decried.
As for the reopening plan, Hassan said the ministerial committee will meet on Sunday to “devise a plan that caters to the Lebanese public and the level of our mutual understanding.”
“I don’t know until when we will keep betting on people’s commitment and society’s awareness,” he added.
“We have not achieved the lockdown we were hoping for and a plan for a gradual reopening that would be evaluated weekly should be devised, while adding some deterring points in order to curb the spread of coronavirus,” Hassan went on to say.
Answering a reporter’s question, the minister said the Interior Ministry has performed an “extraordinary effort” while urging greater cooperation from “the other security agencies and municipalities.”
The caretaker economy minister meanwhile announced that the country will be reopened but called on citizens to “abide by the precautionary measures.”