Lebanon’s main coronavirus facility has said the country’s health system is close to collapse with reports of shortage of beds, drugs, oxygen, ventilators and staff.
Dr Firas Abiad of the foremost covid-19 facility in the country has said the government’s decision to relax coronavirus restrictions over a few fateful days at Christmas and New Year ultimately caused an increase in cases and deaths over the past few weeks.
Lebanon, which has a population of six million, has reported more than 222,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1,629 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
However, after the government relaxed restrictions during Christmas and New Year, in a bid to bolster the country’s crumbling economy, 30,250 people tested positive and 117 have died, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University .
President Michel Aoun at a meeting of the Supreme Defence Council on Monday afternoon, expressed serious concerns on the new development.
“We have seen dreadful scenes of citizens waiting in front of hospitals for a chair or a bed,
“Radical measures must be taken so that we can mitigate the catastrophic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak,” he said.
Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab blamed the spike in cases on “the stubbornness of people and their rebellion against measures taken to protect them from the threat of this pandemic”.
But he also admitted that “the enforcement of these measures was not equal to the level of the risk”.
The government has immediately enforced an 11-day curfew.
People will not be allowed to leave their homes from 05:00 (03:00 GMT) on Thursday, with few exemptions. They will be unable to shop in supermarkets and will need to rely on deliveries.
However, the airport will remain open, but the number of passengers will be reduced.