Corona Virus In Lebanon

The Corona virus started to spread quickly in Lebanon at the beginning of July 2020, reaching now more than 250K of people infected. Currently, there are 264,647 cases, 2084 deaths and 157,202 recovered. Because of the high number of infected cases, the Lebanese government has ordered a second coronavirus lockdown, forcing also shops and restaurants to close and by forcing a curfew from 5 p.m local time. By imposing a “complete lockdown,” the government in Beirut hopes to stop the spread of coronavirus and to prevent Lebanon’s health system from completely collapsing.

Lebanon is already going through the most serious economic crisis in the country’s history and COVID-19 pandemic has just made it even worse. In addition to the devastation provoked by the Beirut explosion, the Corona virus has just aggravated the situation. People declare they cannot undergo another lockdown, because they will find themselves without any income or food to feed their families. There is no clear strategy and controls for what it regards the Covid measurements, which is what makes the whole situation even worse and harder to cure.

In Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon, situated 85 kilometers north of the capital Beirut and also declared one of the poorest cities along the entire Mediterranean coastline, is in very bad health conditions due to Covid-19. A person with the virus’ symptoms, before getting tested free of charge, sometimes has to wait for two weeks for an appointment in the local hospital, which is crazy compared to the rates the virus spreads. According to the Health Ministry, Lebanon has seen more than 958,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 740 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. In October only, 42,000 people contracted the virus and 277 died. These numbers are this high also for the limited testing capacities of the country. In addition, more and more doctors get infected, and doctors who get an offer to work abroad, accept it by leaving their country behind in terrible conditions. Reportedly, 400 doctors have already left the country in 2020.

Beirut’s government states that the population is the one responsible for the rising infection numbers because of their behaviours, not complying with the set measures. If the population would listen more, more lives will be saved, it states. However, people need food to survive, and if they don’t work, they don’t eat. Poverty is the main reason why Corona is spreading this fast and easily. In the country’s situation, people are simply more afraid of dying of poverty more than of COVID-19.

The health sector is underfunded, as well as the monthly rate that the government has pledged to its people (50€), and due to the economic crisis going on at the same time, people cannot rely on their salaries or savings. More than 55% of the six million Lebanese people are living in poverty, which means that Corona will spread faster and be the second source of fear for the population. If Lebanon wants to avoid a humanitarian disaster, it should ensure its people that they can trust public health measures, without worrying about their next meal on the table.

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