BEIRUT: Lebanon’s government has imposed a nationwide lockdown — excluding pharmacies, bakeries and mills — between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The new measures include “stricter control of operations at major institutions and factories, reducing the number of employees and workers, limiting the workforce to a third of current capacity to prevent social contact, and further urging citizens to comply with health measures while on the road.”
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lebanon has jumped to 368, an increase of 35 cases within 24 hours. There are also 360 suspected cases and 944 quarantined people.
Two deaths have been recorded for patients who suffered from chronic diseases, raising the number of COVID-19 deaths in Lebanon to six.
One of the patients was in their 50s, and passed away at Rafik Hariri University Hospital. The other was in his 70s, and passed away at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Notre Dame de Secours in Byblos.
Mount Lebanon remains the region with the highest number of cases, accounting for 47.3 percent of all cases in the country.
The Health Ministry stressed that “all preventive measures must be applied, especially complete home isolation, which has become an individual and societal moral responsibility required of every citizen.”
The ministry warned that “any negligence in applying preventive measures will subject violators to legal and criminal prosecution.”
The government’s next steps include “a strict deterrence from the military and security services to suppress violations, thus stopping the outbreak and spread of coronavirus.”
The Cabinet decided to allocate 75 billion Lebanese pounds ($49.5 million) in social assistance due to the disruption imposed on workers and families living below the poverty line.
The Supreme Council of Defense recommended the establishment of a ministerial committee to follow up on the situation of Lebanese who are stuck abroad, especially students.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry had a Skype discussion with Chinese experts who shared their country’s experiences in fighting COVID-19.
The experts stressed the necessity of adopting four basic rules: Early detection, early reporting, early isolation and early treatment. They said 80 percent of cases fully recover.