Lebanon’s national anti-coronavirus committee on Tuesday called for a stricter implementation of the preventative measures in light of the spike in infections in recent days.
“The conferees discusses the general situation of the coronavirus outbreak in various Lebanese regions, especially those that did not witness any infections in the previous period,” the committee said in a statement issued after a meeting at the Grand Serail.
“The major laxness that we witnessed over the past days with the arrival of scores of Lebanese from abroad, including some who are infected with the disease, has raised the daily rate of infections to dangerous levels, which obliged the committee to issue strict recommendations on reviewing the tracking plan and activating it in a better manner,” the panel added.
It said “the strictest measures for implementing home quarantine must be taken and violators must be penalized to prevent the spread of the disease and a huge number of infections that Lebanon cannot bear.”
The meeting was chaired by Higher Defense Council secretary-general Maj. Gen. Mahmoud al-Asmar and attended by President Michel Aoun’s advisor ex-MP Walid Khoury, Premier Hassan Diab’s adviser for health affairs Dr. Petra Khoury, the president of the state-run Rafik Hariri hospital Dr. Firas al-Abyad and representatives of international organizations and specialized local associations.
Lebanon on Tuesday ordered a four-day-long lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The country has officially announced 870 cases of COVID-19, including 26 deaths. Last month it started to slowly emerge from a weeks-long lockdown that has aggravated its worst economic crisis since 1975-1990 civil.
Restaurants and cafes have reopened at 30 per cent capacity, mosques have resumed prayers, and many people are back at work.
But “the rate at which the coronavirus is spreading from one person to the other has accelerated in our community in the past three days,” PM Diab warned on Tuesday, explaining why his government is tightening lockdown measures.
He said the country has recorded more than 100 new infections over four days, accusing some of “negligence and lack of responsibility” for violating government measures to stem the coronavirus.
The new virus cases include repatriated Lebanese nationals who have returned to the country en masse in recent weeks.