Lebanese break social distancing rules

Lebanese queue outside a bank in the Zalka suburb of Beirut on Sunday. (AFP)
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Updated 31 March 2020

Lebanese break social distancing rules

  • The Ministry of Health said that “out of 446 people infected with the coronavirus, there are 416 Lebanese and the rest are of 18 other nationalities”

BEIRUT: Lebanese quarantine rules were broken on Monday with hundreds heading to banks to collect their salaries in northern and southern Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese Army closed shops in violation of the shutdown laws in a Hezbollah security zone in the southern suburb of Beirut.
The violations came as eight new confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were recorded in Lebanon on Sunday and Monday. However, this low number was not shared by the director of the Hariri Governmental University Hospital, Dr. Firas Al-Abyad, as most of the laboratories operate at half capacity on weekends.
The number of COVID-19 deaths rose to 11. The Ministry of Health said that the latest fatality was a patient in her 80s suffering from chronic illnesses.
A source at the hospital told Arab News: “The quarantine is beginning to show its results now and we have to wait to see the newly infected cases in the coming days. We may reach the peak stage and we are preparing for it medically.”
The Ministry of Health said that “out of 446 people infected with the coronavirus, there are 416 Lebanese and the rest are of 18 other nationalities.”
It added: “Between Sunday and Monday, the Lebanese Red Cross transferred 430 suspected cases with COVID-19 symptoms and they are waiting for the results of their tests. There are 1,074 people still quarantined for contact with infected patients. There have been 32 cases of recovery so far.”

HIGHLIGHT

The violations came as eight new confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease were recorded in Lebanon on Sunday and Monday.

On Monday, journalist May Chidiac was discharged from hospital after she was diagnosed with COVID-19. She spent a week in the hospital. She told Arab News that she did not need oxygen or a ventilator and that “the longest hour in my life was today when I waited for my sister to take me from hospital to home.”
Chidiac has moved to home quarantine until full recovery. She said she did not know where she caught the infection. She had an appointment in Paris to change a prosthetic implant but she does not know if the infection was caught there or on the plane. When she returned to Beirut, she committed to home quarantine, fearing that she had caught the virus and once the symptoms appeared, she rushed to the hospital.
Her sister Misha told Arab News that she “adhered to home quarantine at the time, which protected me and the others who live in the home from catching the infection, and our laboratory test results were negative.”
Meanwhile, the Internal Security Forces confirmed that no COVID-19 cases were reported in Roumieh Prison in Lebanon and that “all inmates in all prisons are safe.”


‘Political paralysis’: Lebanese patriarch points at Shiite leaders for cabinet delay

Updated 5 min 52 sec ago

‘Political paralysis’: Lebanese patriarch points at Shiite leaders for cabinet delay

  • PM-designate Mustapha Adib, a Sunni Muslim, wants to appoint specialists and shake up the leadership of ministries
  • Sunday’s sermon adds to tensions in a nation facing its worst crisis since a civil war ended in 1990

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s top Christian cleric took a swipe at leaders of the Shiite Muslim community on Sunday for making demands he said were blocking the formation of a new government and causing political paralysis in a nation in deep crisis.
Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, leader of the Maronite church, did not mention Shiites directly but asked how one sect can demand “a certain ministry.” Shiite politicians have said they must name the finance minister.
Sunday’s sermon adds to tensions in a nation facing its worst crisis since a civil war ended in 1990 and where power is traditionally shared out between Muslims and Christians.
France has been pushing Lebanon to form a new cabinet fast. But a deadline of Sept. 15 that politicians told Paris they would meet has been missed amid a row over appointments, notably the finance minister, a post Shiites controlled for years.
Shiite politicians say they must choose some posts because rivals are trying to use “foreign leverage” to push them aside.
“In what capacity does a sect demand a certain ministry as if it is its own, and obstruct the formation of the government, until it achieves its goals, and so causes political paralysis?” the patriarch of Lebanon’s biggest Christian community said.
He said the Taif agreement, a pact that ended the 1975-1990 civil war, did not hand specific ministries to specific sects.
Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib, a Sunni Muslim, wants to appoint specialists and shake up the leadership of ministries.
The main Shiite groups — the Amal Movement and the heavily armed, Iranian-backed Hezbollah — want to select the figures to fill several posts, including the finance minister, a vital position as Lebanon navigates through its economic crisis.
A French roadmap for Lebanon includes the swift resumption of talks with the International Monetary Fund, a first step to helping deal with a mountain of debt and fix Lebanon’s broken banking sector. But it first needs a government.