Why Lebanese Government Wasn’t Able To Contain The Corona Virus

In April, when much of the world was struggling to control the spread of Covid-19, Lebanon, a country always trapped in a cycle of corrupt and incompetent governments, was surprisingly tackling the spread of the virus. Eight months after, the situation in Lebanon has witnessed a drastic flip, with the rate of cases running up like some of the worst-hit countries, whose populations are also bigger.

Lebanon, with a population estimated of around six million people, has registered more than 252,800 cases and 1,906 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic, with daily numbers continuously increasing in the latest weeks. You are probably asking yourself why and how these numbers could revolt this quickly and drastically. Here is the response: the inefficient health sector.

Footage from various hospitals have shown the disastrous state of the healthcare sector, with hospitals that are completely overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients and are not able to cope anymore. In Lebanon, patients are now being treated also outside in hospital parking lots. Doctors say they have been forced to supply oxygen, do blood tests and scans outside of hospitals, because there were no places anymore to receive new patients, especially after the Beirut Port explosion which destroyed the main hospital in the capital.

On December 17, the government loosened up the measurements because of the holiday season and the possibility to create some income for the country, which was already suffering a pandemic-hit economy crisis. The government attempts to balance the economic pressure and the Covid-19, resulted in a medical nightmare. 

Establishments did not followed their maximum capacity rule, nor did they prevent people from dancing in clubs. Restaurants and pubs were overcrowded, while private parties and gigs held in restaurants spread the feeling that the pandemic never reached Lebanon. Business owners threatened the employers to leave them home if they would have refused to show up to work, even though they had symptoms. These incidents have reflected a reckless profit-mentality that was adopted by business owners during the two-week holiday and the lack of control from the government. Covid-19 cases, of course blew up after the holidays, and Lebanon proceeded to record more than triple the daily number of infections before the government’s decision to lossen up the restrictions. 

After these events, the government proceeded with another severe lockdown, that also had weird regulations like allowing people, whose car licence plates ended with an even number, to drive on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; while those with licence plates that ended with an odd number, to drive on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. No driving is allowed on a Sunday. This decision actually contributed to the increase in infection, as people resorted to sharing cars to move around. Some experts have suggested that the reason behind this decision had more to do with decreasing fuel consumption, as the country faces growing financial pressures to import new supplies of this kind. Experts believe the death toll will rise exponentially, even though the strict measures.

Last Friday, the Lebanese parliament passed a law granting the emergency use of the coronavirus vaccine. While the first shipment of doses will now be received in mid-February, the government was denounced for not preparing for this eventuality. Lebanon’s Security Council declared a state of emergency until the first of February. Health experts expect they will not be able to save the country from the health crisis it might soon be facing.

Pierre El Sokhn

x  Powerful Protection for WordPress, from Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security