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As Cases Rise, Lebanon Seeks to Enforce COVID-19 Preventive Measures

As Cases Rise, Lebanon Seeks to Enforce COVID-19 Preventive Measures

Tuesday, 20 October, 2020 - 06:45
Municipal workers spray disinfectant in a street in Beirut to counter the spread of the new coronavirus (AFP)

Lebanon’s security forces have boosted their measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 amid an increase in the number of cases.

The Ministry of Public Health announced on Monday the registration of 995 new Coronavirus infections, thus raising the cumulative number of confirmed cases to 62,944.

It also reported six death cases during the past 24 hours.

Caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi and the Coronavirus Follow-up Committee issued new preventive measures and procedures after a meeting held on Saturday.

The committee issued a new list of towns classified as dangerous and witnessing an increase in the number of cases.

It also reiterated the importance of wearing masks, warning that violators would be strictly fined.

All kinds of social events were banned in 79 towns and villages across the country while governmental and private institutions and schools in villages under lockdown were closed.

Last week, caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan stirred controversy after announcing that Lebanon would get the vaccine against COVID-19 through COVAX, an international initiative aimed at ensuring equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, before the end of this year.

"The first quantity of vaccine will be available for 20 percent of the Lebanese," he said, adding the rest of the needed quantities will arrive in Lebanon in batches.

The minister’s statements surprised several medical and political officials.

“This does not reflect the international status of the vaccine, which the Russians promised to release and which drives several questions concerning its efficacy and its side effects,” former MP Dr. Ismail Sukkarieh said.

He explained that the vaccine has still not been licensed by the FDA and the World Health Organization.

“There is no doubt that the minister cares about the general health of citizens, however, the issue is complicated and requires sensitive information and making the right choices,” Sukkariyeh added.

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