Palestinian hospitals reach halfway fundraising mark

Help for hospitals is also coming from local businesses. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 April 2020

Palestinian hospitals reach halfway fundraising mark

  • Donations will help with coronavirus emergency  

AMMAN: Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem have raised almost $3 million out of the $7 million needed to confront the coronavirus emergency.

The money has come from the governments of Germany and Norway, charities and other institutions.

Dr. Walid Nammour, executive director of the Jerusalem Hospital Network, said Germany had donated €1.5 million ($1.64 million) that would go directly to the three hospitals dealing with coronavirus cases: Makassed, St. Joseph and Augusta Victoria.

“We have also received $500,000 for Augusta Victoria from the Norwegian government, $300,000 from the Bethlehem 2000 Foundation in Chile, $300,000 from the Welfare Association, $150,000 from the Bank of Palestine, $100,000 from the Palestine Investment Fund, $50,000 from Medical Aid for Palestine in the UK, and other smaller grants from individuals and organizations,” he told Arab News.

Nammour said that the €9.5 million granted by the EU was not meant to deal directly with emergency needs, it was to help settle unpaid bills.

“Since 2012 the US and the EU had been helping cover the bills for treating patients from all over Palestine but since the Trump administration reneged on this commitment, we have had $75 million of unpaid bills for patients we have treated,” he added.

Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi Hidmi, said the EU’s contribution was flexible and was aimed at helping current emergency and non-emergency issues related to coronavirus.

Help for hospitals is also coming from local businesses. Ahmad Budeiri, the coordinator of the Jerusalem Alliance to Deal with Coronavirus, said that hotels were offering their premises during the crisis.

“Musa Jarjui of the Christmas Hotel has made the entire hotel available to medical staff, as has the Capital Hotel which contributed 20 rooms ... St. George’s has made its entire hospital available for quarantine needs,” he told Arab News. 

Dr. Jamil Kousa, director of St. Joseph’s, welcomed the grants and expressed hope that funds would be available to purchase much-needed ventilators. 

“St. Joseph has 34 beds available for coronavirus patients and has nine ventilators,” he told Arab News. “We are bracing ourselves for a large increase in patients coming within the next week.”

Lebanese spy chief tests positive for virus in US

Updated 21 October 2020

Lebanese spy chief tests positive for virus in US

  • Lebanon’s General Directorate of Public Security said that Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim is in ‘good health,’ but will postpone his return to Beirut following the PCR test

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s security chief has been forced to delay his return from an official visit to the US after testing positive for coronavirus following a series of White House meetings.

Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, director-general of the Lebanese Public Security, met with US officials, including David Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs; CIA director Gina Haspel; and national security adviser Robert O’Brien during his recent visit to Washington.

Hale, as well as several other employees from the State Department and other executive branch divisions, are now self-isolating for 14 days, US officials said.

Lebanon’s General Directorate of Public Security said that Ibrahim is in “good health,” but will postpone his return to Beirut following the PCR test.

The Lebanese intelligence chief also held talks with senior US security officials in Washington. He was scheduled to hold meetings in Paris before his return to Beirut.

In Lebanon, the number of coronavirus infections during October rose to more than 24,000, climbing past the September total of 22,000.

Since the outbreak began in February, more than 63,000 cases have been reported in the country, with 525 fatalities.

Firas Abyad, director of the Rafic Hariri University Hospital, said: “The situation is unacceptable. If we continue on this path, we will soon reach a point where the number of critical coronavirus cases outweighs the number of available intensive care beds. This will coincide with winter, when the demand for intensive care beds increases for pneumonia cases, for example.”

Abyad told Arab News: “One of the most difficult cases that doctors can face is the death of a mother after giving birth, due to the repercussions of her infection with the coronavirus, and this happened a few days ago in Tripoli.”

Abyad pointed to a “state of denial” among those infected with the virus, saying some “consider it as just a regular flu, and do not think about the consequences of the disease.”

He added: “We have 215 cases that need intensive care in Lebanon. We are not fully occupied yet, but we may be shortly.”

Almost 80 Lebanese towns have been placed in lockdown by the Ministry of Interior after recording high rates of infection.

The one-week lockdown decree issued on Tuesday included the southern Beirut neighborhoods of Ghobeiry, Haret Hreik, Burj Al-Brajneh, Tahwitet Al-Ghadeer and Al-Laylaki.

According to the Mount Lebanon Governorate, some suburbs “failed to abide by individual and collective preventive measures to limit the spread of active infection chains.”

The lockdown includes a ban on “social events, parties and gatherings of all kinds.”

Cafes, gaming lounges, amusement parks, sports clubs and public parks will also be closed under the restrictions.