Lebanon orders three-week lockdown to fight virus spread

Lebanon orders three-week lockdown to fight virus spread
People wait to get tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Rafik Hariri University Hospital, in Beirut, Lebanon January 4, 2021. Picture taken January 4, 2021. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 04 January 2021

Lebanon orders three-week lockdown to fight virus spread

Lebanon orders three-week lockdown to fight virus spread

BEIRUT: Lebanon announced a full lockdown for three weeks, including a night curfew, to stem a rise in COVID-19 infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals in a country already facing financial meltdown.
Caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan said the lockdown would start on Thursday and run until Feb. 1, with further details on Tuesday on which sectors would be exempt.
The lockdown will include a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 am.
“It has become clear that the pandemic challenge has reached a stage that is seriously threatening Lebanese lives as hospitals are not capable of providing beds,” Hasan told reporters after a meeting of the ministerial committee on COVID-19.
Lebanon registered 2,870 new infections on Sunday, bringing its total to 189,278 cases and 1,486 deaths since Feb. 21.
The new lockdown comes amid concerns over soaring unemployment, inflation and poverty.
Lebanon is facing a devastating financial crisis that has crashed the currency, paralyzed banks, and frozen savers out of their deposits. Medical supplies have dwindled as dollars have grown scarce.
Intensive care units had previously reached critical capacity over the summer as the virus spread after a massive explosion at the docks wrecked swathes of Beirut, killed 200 people and destroyed several hospitals.
Adherence to social distancing and other preventive measures has been lax and there are now fears of a significant rise in cases after the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“It is a big problem. In the next ten days it will be very difficult and we are expecting death rates to increase as infections rise,” Mahmoud Hassoun, head of the critical care unit at Rafik Hariri hospital, told Reuters.
“We are nearly full now and we haven’t even seen the effect of the holiday period yet.”


Turkey orders 238 detained in military probe over Gulen links

Turkey orders 238 detained in military probe over Gulen links
Updated 19 January 2021

Turkey orders 238 detained in military probe over Gulen links

Turkey orders 238 detained in military probe over Gulen links
  • Operation, covering 60 provinces, part of a four-year-old crackdown against the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen

ISTANBUL: Turkey has ordered the arrest of 238 people in an operation targeting suspects in the military allegedly linked to a Muslim preacher who Ankara says was behind a 2016 failed coup, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.
The operation, covering 60 provinces, was part of a four-year-old crackdown against the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. He denies involvement in the July 2016 putsch attempt, in which more than 250 people were killed.
Anadolu said 160 people had been detained in the latest police raids, ordered by prosecutors in Izmir. It said suspects were also targeted in northern Cyprus, where the Turkish military is deployed.
Among the suspects were 218 serving military personnel, including six colonels, three lieutenant colonels and nine majors, Anadolu said.
Since the coup attempt, about 80,000 people have been held pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended. More than 20,000 people had been expelled from the Turkish military.