The Economic Committees, a grouping of Lebanon’s main businessmen and owners of major firms, on Monday announced their “categorical rejection of any possible decision by the government to completely shut down the country to confront the spread of coronavirus.”
In a statement, the Committees warned of “huge negative repercussions from the shutdown of the private sector, which cannot be contained at the social and economic levels.”
“The government’s inclination to shut down the country for four weeks as reported today to contain the pandemic would be a rash step and an escape forward, especially after it failed in implementing the measures it took throughout the weeks,” the Committees added.
Noting that “the health and safety of the Lebanese citizen” remains their “top priority,” the Committees called on the government to “confront the real causes behind the spread of the pandemic, especially in regions that do not abide by the measures, before moving to new decisions and measures.”
And emphasizing their commitment to precautionary measures and “willingness to implement any new measures,” the Committees demanded that they be represented in the country’s anti-virus committee to be able to “take part in the committee’s meetings and the drafting of proposals so that they be balanced for everyone.”
Earlier in the day, the press office of caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi dismissed reports suggesting that authorities have decided to impose a nationwide lockdown as of Thursday.
“Social media reports are quoting health ministerial sources as saying that an agreement has been reached among the ministries concerned with the coronavirus crisis on enforcing a full 18-day lockdown and curfew as of Thursday,” the office said.
“The press office would like to note that no communication has taken place with the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities over this issue, and accordingly citizens should abide by the measures announced by the ministry or those that will be announced later, while calling on everyone to seek accuracy before circulating any report,” the press office added.
Fahmi had on Sunday issued a memo ordering a nationwide nighttime curfew and the lockdown of 115 towns across Lebanon as of Monday, November 2.
The curfew will be enforced between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am.