Lebanese must wear face masks despite coronavirus lockdown transition period

Special Lebanese must wear face masks despite coronavirus lockdown transition period
Dozens of Lebanese protesters defy a stay-at-home order to protest in their cars in the capital Beirut on April 21, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 25 April 2020

Lebanese must wear face masks despite coronavirus lockdown transition period

Lebanese must wear face masks despite coronavirus lockdown transition period
  • Coronavirus measures due to ease Monday
  • A further eight cases were recorded in Lebanon on Saturday, raising the total number of cases to 704

BEIRUT: Lebanese people must wear face masks despite the country entering the transitional phase of its anti-coronavirus measures, Health Minister Hamad Hassan said.
A further eight cases were recorded in Lebanon on Saturday, raising the total number of cases to 704. Two further deaths have raised the death toll to 24.
The Matn region is still recording the highest number of infections, with the number of cases in this area rising to 141. It is followed by Beirut, where the number of cases stands at 115.  
The Ministry of Health is carrying out random laboratory PCR tests in various regions and the government is scheduled to ease its coronavirus measures, despite an extension of the general mobilization for another two weeks.
Hassan said during his tour to the southern suburbs of Beirut and the Bekaa that the transitional phase had started. “It is still necessary for the Lebanese to use face masks. They should continue to take precautions.”
There were a further two deaths, raising the death toll to 24. One of them was a male in his sixties being treated at the Center Hospitalier Universitaire Notre Dame des Secours. He was from the town of Tula in Batroun District.
Lebanon’s Grand Mufti opened the doors of Dar Al-Fatwa, which is Lebanon’s religious authority for the Sunni community, on the second day of Ramadan due to the increase of people in need and public figures made donations at the headquarters. 
The charity drive also provided an occasion for former heads of government to respond to a speech from Prime Minister Hassan Diab in which he slammed the governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon and his political opponents.
Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora stressed the need for restoring the status of the constitution, the Taif Agreement which ended the civil war in Lebanon, “efficiency and merit” in bearing responsibility, and to subject everyone to accountability under constitutional frameworks.
He added: “How can the confidence of people be restored if we have not solved the file of judicial formations, and how can we win the trust of the Lebanese people if we have not implemented the electricity law that has been in place for 18 years?”
He said that the International Monetary Fund was the only way for countries to restore credibility. 
Another former prime minister, Tammam Salam, said there needed to be awareness among officials who should avoid confrontation that only led to political uncertainty and speculation.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who blames Diab for the economic crisis, said what was going on was “floundering in the abyss of experimental ideas and searching for victims in politics, economy and administration.”
The collapse occurred as a result of the delay in defining the paths of rescue since the first government of the present administration, he added, with the collapse continuing throughout the past few months.
“In the decision-making rooms, it is proposed to change the identity of Lebanon at all levels, and the most dangerous thing in this scheme is the use of popular anger as fuel to burn the democratic, economic and social identity of Lebanon,” he warned.