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Lebanon Tangled Up In Intermittent Lockdowns

Lebanon Tangled Up In Intermittent Lockdowns

Tuesday, 4 August, 2020 - 06:45
FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks walk outside Rafik Hariri hospital, where Lebanon's first coronavirus case is being quarantined, in Beirut, Lebanon February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

As the Lebanese prepare to resume work on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the country reopening for only 48 hours after a five-day lockdown, the Technical Committee for an Effective COVID-19 Response called for a general closure for 15 days over two reasons: Alleviating pressure on the health and hospitals sector on one hand and reducing the number of infections on the other.

Committee member Dr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Bizri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the recommendation “stems from basic factors, including the rise in the number of infections over the past two weeks, which is an indication even if it comes with the increase in the number of PCR tests.”

He pointed to some unreliable test results, which he said were caused by lack of monitoring or mounted pressure on laboratories. Moreover, Bizri noted that the high number of infections within the health sector itself, as well as the death of a doctor and a nurse, “increased the psychological and physical pressure on workers in this sector.”

In a statement on Monday, the Rafik Hariri University Hospital mourned the passing away of Nurse Zainab Haidar, who had fallen victim to the coronavirus.

The statement said that Haidar “was working in Al-Zahra Hospital and was transferred to the Rafic Hariri University Hospital for treatment after suffering from Covid-19.”

Bizri stressed that the lockdown was a temporary measure.

“It is necessary to educate people and convince them that the pandemic will stay with us at least for an additional year; it is important to find a new standards for a normal life,” he said.

“It is true that the economy must be taken into consideration, but intermittent closure, which lacks strict measures, does not serve neither the economy nor the fight against the coronavirus, but on the contrary, it will take us from a lockdown to another without any concrete results,” Bizri warned.

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