BEIRUT (AP) – It is a choice between the whirling virus epidemic and saving the dying economy in a country that has been in constant financial and economic collapse in the past year. Authorities in Lebanon choose the latter.
Now, viral patients struggle to breathe, waiting outside the hospital – hoping for a bed or chair to open. Common people share contacts of oxygen suppliers on social media as critical gases become scarce and ambulances cruising through Beirut.Around 500 of Lebanon’s 14,000 doctors have left the country it faces. Crises in recent months on doctor̵7;s orders have put more stress on existing hospital staff.
On Thursday, Lebanese authorities took a different turn: They began enforcing an 11-day nationwide shutdown and an all-time curfew in hopes of uncontrollably reducing the spread of the coronavirus. After the holidays
The curfew is the strictest measure Lebanon has taken since the outbreak began.
Previous shutdowns had lax and poorly enforced rules. Residents are now unable to leave their homes except for a number of reasons, including visiting a bakery, drug store, doctor’s office, hospital, or airport, and for the first time they had to apply for a permit. Will do these things Even supermarkets are open for delivery only.
On the other hand, Lebanon was still able to treat less than 100 people a day on average through August. But it is now the leader in the Arab world in the number of cases per million. Today, the number of deaths from COVID-19 daily is more than 13 times that of July.As of Jan. 9, more than 5,400 infections have been reported, a statistic for a small country.
On Thursday, Lebanon registered a new daily record of 41 deaths, bringing the total number of recorded cases to nearly 237,200 and 1,781 deaths, according to the health ministry.
As neighbors begin to vaccinate their populations, including Israel campaigning on becoming one of the fastest in the world. But Lebanon was unable to fire in the first set. Once a leader in the health sector in Middle Eastern countries, Lebanon has been thwarted in efforts to get vaccines due to repeated bureaucratic delays, in part due to the fact that it has oversight.
Parliament is expected to meet on Friday to vote on a bill allowing the vaccine to be imported. Pfizer-BioNTech The first delivery is expected next month.
“This is the result of a deliberate decision made by an irresponsible and immoral politician,” said 42-year-old businessman Sami Hanna, who was waiting for him to enter the pharmacy earlier this week looking for an anti-painkiller. Depression, and Antihypertensive drugs for aging parents
“This is how we spent today begging,” he said, adding that his next mission was to look for bread that was out of stock due to panic buying before the curfew arrived. “It’s a little too late. ”
The rise of coronavirus-infected people began in late August, weeks after a massive explosion at the port of Beirut that destroyed parts of the capital, including several hospitals infected with the virus.
The explosion was caused by a fire that ignited nearly three tons of poorly stored ammonium nitrate that had been sitting in a harbor warehouse for years, a mishandling that is typical of a corrupt political class. Which cannot provide basic services to the people
The virus struck flooded hospitals, funerals and subsequent protests.
With increasingly complex efforts to contain the virus, politicians could not come to terms with the new government as the old government resigned in the port blast, ensuring the country’s disengagement could continue in an efficient manner.
But in December, as most governments around the world tightened, blocking Lebanon went the other way, allowing restaurants and nightclubs to reopen with virtually no restrictions. About 80,000 foreigners flocked to the country. Celebrate Christmas and New Year with your loved ones, mostly Lebanese, who skipped summer visits due to the devastation of the blast.
“The holiday season should be a time for a premiere. It’s the season of crowds, shopping and parties, ”said Hanna Azar, owner of a money transfer and phone shop.“ They’re open for the dollar to come into the country and now they want to close. Especially in this economic crisis, people have no money to eat. ”
Many hospitals are now able to handle the maximum number of coronavirus cases. Some rooms did not have beds, oxygen tanks and ventilators; others have stopped elective surgery.
Lebanon last week set a 25-day nationwide blockade and a night curfew to limit the spread of the virus. But many sectors are exempt and their enforcement is as lax as in the past. Many businesses, including hair salons, welcome customers after their shop closes. In some areas northern and southern Lebanon is a normal business.
With the hospital on the brink of collapse, the government ordered an 11-day national curfew starting Thursday, sparking three days of physical abuse as crowds of shoppers washed the shelves in supermarkets and bakeries. Quickly
Police on Thursday set up checkpoints across the country to examine the permission of motorists on the road.
Political analyst Halim Shebaya said the government had no clear strategy and warned it would be difficult to lower the numbers towards the end of the game.
“The main issue right now is a lack of trust in governments and agencies, and epidemic management requires public trust in the measures the authorities take,” he said.
Still, Rabih Torbay, who heads Project HOPE, the global international health and humanitarian organization, said time is of the essence and urges officials to take every step that may help stop the infection.
“Every day that passes by, the country is plummeting,” he said.
Associated Press reporters Fadi Tawil and Bilal Hussein contributed to the report.