Lebanon: “Coronavirus is no longer contained”, as per the Minister of Health

“Lebanon’s governmental anti-coronavirus panel ordered the closure of educational institutions until March 14 and the closure of sport clubs, nightclubs, cinemas and fairs” (Naharnet source).

“Only one out of 22 coronavirus cases is of an unknown source” (Naharnet source).

“A nurse at the Notre Dame des Secours hospital and a patient who was in the room with the patient who came from Egypt have tested positive for coronavirus” (Naharnet source).

This being said, Bambi has suspected, from the beginning of this public health crisis, that the Lebanese authorities would have not been fully transparent about the precise number of infected people. Why is she saying so? Because it is Lebanon, after all, and because it was not fast enough in halting entry for travellers from coronavirus hubs (i.e. especially Iran, likely for political/ideological reasons). Many citizens have travelled to Iran for religious tourism and kept doing so even during the early stages of the crisis, it seems; of course, this in addition to travels from/to other hubs (China, Italy, etc.).

Then, the Lebanese authorities woke up (it is never too late). They took serious measures, like the ones described above and decisions concerning travels (i.e., China, Iran, Italy, etc.). They only accepted the entrance of residents who were abroad (returning home). They invited them to self-isolate themselves. They proceeded to test them in case of flu-like symptoms or fever. Right now, Bambi is unsure if the travels bans are still in place and, if so, for how long.

Despite this, and all in all, Lebanon’s response to the coronavirus crisis seems to be efficient, at least thus far. For instance, they secured beds in isolated parts of several hospitals and coordinated the response. They regularly update the population with press releases, etc.

One must add that Lebanon is used to surviving from crisis to crisis throughout history. When needed, this country can be not only efficient (small yet highly efficient) but also inspiring. For instance, it has survived to 15 years of civil war. Its medical system remained up-to-date and functional. Same for its currency. It is only now that its economy has collapsed (or it is about to do so?). Yet, tiny Lebanon is still hanging on in the middle of its unprecedented economic crisis.

Anyhow, Bambi would like to conclude this post with three pictures.

The first shows two government employees cleaning a public space in Beirut to prevent the transmission of the virus.

A picture taken in Beirut by Mr. Mohamed Azakir/Reuters published in the L’Orient Le Jour

The second picture shows a couple on their Vespa, wearing a mask because they think it would help them protect their lungs and bodies from the coronavirus. Mind you, from their young age, they seem not to be in a vulnerable or risky group. Plus, let’s not forget that the mask be not be that protective, even if psychologically it may make them feel better. Ironically though, they forgot about a much more imminent threat to their safety (than a tiny invisible virus): a potential brain concussion, or even death, can occur more easily when we do not wear a protective helmet in case of a road accident. This being said, Bambi wishes them a long good health and life!

A picture taken from l’Orient Le Jour

To conclude this post, the last powerful picture shows anti-government protesters in front of Lebanon’s Health Ministry on February 26, 2020. These courageous women are holding a sign in Arabic that reads, “You are the coronavirus. You are the epidemic“. This refers to the corrupt political leaders (still in charge), responsible for the economic fiasco in Lebanon.

A picture by Mr. Hassan Ammar, Associated Press.

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