Lebanon imposes nationwide lockdown

A two-week extension would keep Lebanon closed until April 12. (AP)
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Updated 27 March 2020

Lebanon imposes nationwide lockdown

  • Pharmacies, bakeries and mills are excluded from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew

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.


Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

Updated 28 May 2020

Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

  • Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley will remain in what he described as an “enclave” after Israel annexes the territory and will not be granted Israeli citizenship.
Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in line with President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, a process that could begin as early as July 1.
The annexation of the Jordan Valley and the far-flung settlements would make it virtually impossible to create a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel, which is still widely seen as the only way to resolve the decades-old conflict.
In an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Netanyahu said Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, including residents of the city of Jericho, would remain under limited Palestinian self-rule, with Israel having overall security control.
“They will remain a Palestinian enclave,” he said. “You’re not annexing Jericho. There’s a cluster or two. You don’t need to apply sovereignty over them. They will remain Palestinian subjects, if you will. But security control also applies to these places.”
Palestinians in the West Bank have lived under Israeli military rule since the 1967 war, when Israel captured the territory, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinians want all three territories to form their future state.
The Trump plan would grant the Palestinians limited statehood over scattered enclaves surrounded by Israel if they meet a long list of conditions. Israel has embraced the plan, while the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, has angrily rejected it and cut ties with the US and Israel.
Netanyahu said that if the Palestinians accept all the conditions in the plan, including Israel maintaining overall security control, “then they will have an entity of their own that President Trump defines as a state.”
Under a coalition agreement reached last month, Netanyahu can bring his annexation plans before the government as early as July 1.
The Palestinian Authority has said it is no longer bound by any agreements signed with Israel and the US, and says it has cut off security coordination with Israel. Neighboring Jordan, a close Western ally and one of only two Arab states to have made peace with Israel, has warned of a “massive conflict” if Israel proceeds with annexation.