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A Cheer for the Heroes: Lebanese Applaud Health Workers from Balconies

A Cheer for the Heroes: Lebanese Applaud Health Workers from Balconies

Monday, 30 March, 2020 - 05:00
People take part in a mass round of applause to show their appreciation for the Lebanese nurses and frontline healthcare staff during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in the Lebanese capital Beirut on March 29, 2020. (Photo by PATRICK BAZ / AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Thousands of people around Lebanon stood and clapped on their balconies on Sunday evening in a show of support to members of the country's “heroic” medical workers who are leading the battle against the coronavirus.

The initiative spread online with the Arabic hashtag "a cheer for the heroes", shared by public figures including journalists, actors and the Arab pop star Ragheb Alama.

At the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, a police force saluted doctors and nurses as well as the patients who are undergoing treatment. The hospital now is the main center in Lebanon to deal with coronavirus patients.

Lebanon's Health Ministry reported on Sunday 26 new coronavirus cases, raising the total to 438. The ministry added in a statement that two more persons, both in their 70s, were killed by COVID-19, raising the total deaths in the country to 10.

In one Beirut neighborhood, a woman draped in a Lebanese flag sang the national anthem as her neighbors drummed on pots and pans, an AFP journalist said.

Elsewhere, Lebanese played drums and blew vuvuzelas, sharing videos of the street performances online.

Similar initiatives have gained attention from Italy to France but they have remained rare in the Arab world.

To try to contain the spread of the virus, Lebanon has imposed isolation measures on its population until April 12, with a nighttime curfew in effect. Schools, universities, restaurants and bars are closed.

Many fear the country's healthcare system could be overwhelmed by cases.

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