Lebanon Poised to Declare Emergency over Coronavirus
Lebanon is poised to declare a state of emergency to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, media reports said.
“Lebanon is inclined to declare an official state of emergency for 15 days during which institutions still working will be closed, except for those belonging to vital daily sectors,” An-Nahar newspaper reported on Sunday.
“It will not reach the extent of a curfew as applied in China and other regions of the world,” the daily added.
The decision will be taken in meetings for the Higher Defense Council and Cabinet that will be held at 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm respectively.
President Michel Aoun is also scheduled to address the nation at the beginning of the Cabinet session.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah had on Friday openly called on citizens and residents to observe home isolation as Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Jebran Bassil warned Saturday that “we’re on the verge of reaching the spread of the pandemic.”
“Medical capabilities might lack the capacity to offer care to critical cases, that’s why a general quarantine, or a state of emergency, seems to be inevitable. Although it might be painful, the aim is to save the biggest number of lives,” Bassil said.
The Grand Serail had on Saturday witnessed a series of security and syndical meetings to take the necessary precautions.
The meetings involved the bread, supermarket, water, health, insurance and agricultural industries as well as distributors, industrialists and security forces.
Lebanon has so far confirmed 99 coronavirus cases including three deaths, according to a Health Ministry statement issued at noon Sunday.
Educational institutions, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs, cafes, exhibitions, parks, cinemas, malls and other gathering venues have been closed since several days as part of the measures against the virus.
Lebanon has also banned flights from eleven hardly hit countries, with critics lamenting that the decision came too late.