Flying roses: Drone fetes Lebanon mothers despite coronavirus

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Young men prepare roses to be delivered via drone to women on Mother's day, in Haret Sakher near the coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A woman on her balcony reaches out with her children to catch a rose, delivered to her via drone on Mother's day, in Okaibeh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A woman on her balcony reaches out to catch a rose delivered to her via a drone on Mother's day, in the Lebanese coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A woman on her balcony reaches out to catch a rose delivered to her via a drone on Mother's day, in the Lebanese coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A drone flies toward a balcony with a rose attached to it, to be delivered to women on Mother's day, in Haret Sakher near the coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A drone flies toward a balcony with a rose attached to it, to be delivered to women on Mother's day, in Haret Sakher near the coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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Young men prepare roses to be delivered via drone to women on Mother's day, in Haret Sakher near the coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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Updated 23 March 2020

Flying roses: Drone fetes Lebanon mothers despite coronavirus

  • Three students have come up with a new service to celebrate the occasion without flouting social distancing restrictions
  • Lebanon has recorded 206 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, and counted four deaths

JOUNIEH: In a quiet Lebanese town under lockdown over the novel coronavirus, a drone buzzed toward a balcony on Saturday to deliver a red rose to a mother grinning in surprise.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have put a damper on Mother’s Day in Lebanon this year, but three students have come up with a new service to celebrate the occasion without flouting social distancing restrictions.
Down in the street in the coastal town of Jounieh, 18-year-old Christopher Ibrahim texts a teenager who has ordered a flower drop-off for his mother, asking him to bring the family onto the balcony.
He slips a single rose in a ring hanging under the aircraft and it lifts off into the air to carry the flower to its intended recipient.
“It’s Mother’s Day and everything’s closed,” said the engineering student, wearing a light blue face mask.
For almost a week, most Lebanese have been ordered to remain at home to stem the spread of COVID-19. The airport has closed and all non-essential businesses have been told to shutter.
Lebanon has recorded 206 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, and counted four deaths.

“I wanted to think of something that would enable people make their mothers happy in the safest way — without there being contact with anyone,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim, who has filmed weddings using a drone and also volunteers for the Lebanese Red Cross, decided on the idea of an airborne rose.
“I thought if it was delivered by drone, there would be zero contact,” he said.
But beyond cheering up mothers in lockdown, Ibrahim says the unconventional flower delivery service also aims to support medical workers battling the pandemic.
“Everything we make from this project will go to the Red Cross,” he said. Each rose delivery costs between 10,000 and 20,000 Lebanese pounds ($6.60-$13 according to the official exchange rate) depending on the location.
Lebanese officials fear an increase in COVID-19 cases would overwhelm local hospitals, in a country already reeling from an economic crisis and mass anti-government protests.
Lebanon has been largely quiet in recent days, although food stores have remained open and there have been some vehicles in the streets.
Ministers and lawmakers have called for a full curfew, and Prime Minister Hassan Diab was expected to speak on Saturday evening.
An estimated 900 million people are now confined to their homes in 35 countries around the world — two thirds by government lockdown orders, according to an AFP tally.


So sad, it’s funny: Egyptian beans can cure Coronavirus and other myths being circulated

Updated 30 min 7 sec ago

So sad, it’s funny: Egyptian beans can cure Coronavirus and other myths being circulated

CAIRO: With news changing every minute, social media users in Egypt are latching on to coronavirus developments with their special sense of humor.

As Egyptians spend their time quarantining at home, they are managing to escape boredom by scrutinizing some of the weirdest news stories across their media.

1 – One of the most trending topics this week was the visit by Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed to Italy, one of the nations worst hit by the global pandemic. Just like her trip to China, Zayed traveled to Italy to deliver medical aid to the Italians as requested by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. A move the Egyptian leader said would contribute “in lifting their burden during the current crisis.”

Images on April 5 showed Egyptian military planes carrying aid, including medicines and face masks. But Zayed herself stood out in those pictures as the only official not wearing a face mask, becoming a hot topic for Egyptians to pick on.

Later, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio posted a video on Facebook of him welcoming Zayed, during which he removed his mask resembling the Egyptian minister.

On a more serious note, Zayed was criticized by some for delivering aid to Italy when several hospitals at home have reported a shortage of medical supplies.

2 – Myths about how some foods are good for fighting COVID-19 have been going viral across the Middle East.

In Egypt, a doctor claimed that beans are effective in preventing the COVID-19 infection. Magdi Badran claimed in a televised interview that “homemade” lentils cooked would help.

 

In a similar incident, another doctor said that a 5,000-year-old Egyptian dish called “shalawlaw” is effective against the virus.

Magdi Nazih, Head of the Nutrition Education Division of Egypt’s National Institute of Nutrition, said the “shalawlaw” dish consists of dry molokhia, lots of garlic and lemon. And because it contains a large amount of garlic, it would strengthen the body's immunity, he claimed.

 

3 – Another food recommendation was made by Egyptian presenter Amani Al-Khayat to fight the virus.

Although not proven by anyone, Al-Khayat suggested Egyptians should drink a cup of tea during their daily diet, which would keep them protected from COVID-19.

 

The statement she made during her segment on news channel CBC Extra soon fell prey to mockery from Egyptian viewers.

4 – The internet has gone wild about the lack of social distancing when a TV reporter on private channel Sada Al-Balad was surrounded by over 10 people during his reporting.

In the report, talk show host Ahmad Mousa was being sarcastic as he spoke to the field reporter about how the individuals appearing with him surrounded him too closely.

 

“From what I see, I’m confident our people are abiding by social distancing,” Mousa said jokingly.

The reporter then decided to put on a face mask to protect himself from the complete lack of social-distancing.

5 – One of the most significant nights in Egypt since the COVID-19 outbreak was on March 24, when a group decided to march in Alexandria at midnight in what was later known as the “Corona Protests.”

A group of at least 200-300 people decided to take to the streets to rant against the pandemic thinking it was a good idea amidst all the calls to stay at home.

Video footage of their reckless behavior landed them in hot water as social media users seized upon every opportunity to make fun of them.