2020 coronavirus pandemic in Lebanon

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have reached Lebanon in February 2020.

2020 coronavirus pandemic in Lebanon
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationLebanon
First outbreakWuhan, China
Index caseBeirut
Arrival date21 February 2020
(1 month, 2 weeks and 4 days)
Confirmed cases575
Severe cases27[1]
Recovered60[1]
Deaths
19[1]

BackgroundEdit

On 12 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, who had initially come to the attention of the WHO on 31 December 2019.[2][3]

Unlike SARS of 2003, the case fatality ratio for COVID-19 [4][5] has been much lower, but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[6][4]

TimelineEdit

Timeline


Date
Cases
Deaths
Recoveries
21 Feb 2020
26 Feb 2020
28 Feb 2020
29 Feb 2020
01 Mar 2020
02 Mar 2020
04 Mar 2020
06 Mar 2020
07 Mar 2020
08 Mar 2020
09 Mar 2020
10 Mar 2020
11 Mar 2020
12 Mar 2020
13 Mar 2020
14 Mar 2020
15 Mar 2020
16 Mar 2020
17 Mar 2020
18 Mar 2020
19 Mar 2020
20 Mar 2020
21 Mar 2020
22 Mar 2020
23 Mar 2020
24 Mar 2020
25 Mar 2020
26 Mar 2020
27 Mar 2020
28 Mar 2020
29 Mar 2020
30 Mar 2020
31 Mar 2020
1 Apr 2020
2 Apr 2020
3 Apr 2020
4 Apr 2020
5 Apr 2020
6 Apr 2020
7 Apr 2020
8 Apr 2020
1 2 4 7 10 10 15 22 28 32 41 52 66 73 78 93 99 110 124 133 149 163 230 248 256 304 333 368 391 412 438 446 463 479 494 508 520 527 541 548 575
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 14 14 17 17 18 19 19 19
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 3 3 8 8 8 8 8 20 23 23 30 30 32 32 43 44 44 54 54 54 60 60
Source : Lebanese Ministry of Public Health. As of April 8, 2020


February 2020Edit

527
COVID-19 cases in Lebanon  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Active cases
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2020-02-21
1(n.a.)
1(=)
2020-02-25
2(+100%)
2020-02-26
2(=)
2020-02-27
4(+100%)
2020-02-28
7(+75%)
2020-02-29
10(+42%)
10(=)
2020-03-03
15(+50%)
2020-03-04
15(=)
2020-03-05
22(+46%)
2020-03-06
28(+27%)
2020-03-07
32(+14%)
2020-03-08
41(+28%)
2020-03-09
52(+26%) 1
2020-03-10
66(+26%) 2(+100%)
2020-03-11
73(+10%) 3(+50%)
2020-03-12
78(+6%) 3(=)
2020-03-13
93(+6%) 3(=)
2020-03-14
99(+6%) 3(=)
2020-03-15
110(+11%) 3(=)
2020-03-16
124(+12%) 3(=)
2020-03-17
133(+7%) 4(+33%)
2020-03-18
149(+12%) 4(=)
2020-03-19
163(+9%) 4(=)
2020-03-20
230(+41%) 4(=)
2020-03-21
248(+7%) 4(=)
2020-03-22
256(+3%) 4(=)
2020-03-23
304(+18%) 4(=)
2020-03-24
333(+9%) 5(+25%)
2020-03-25
368(+10%) 6(+20%)
2020-03-26
391(+6%) 7(+16%)
2020-03-27
412(+5%) 8(+14%)
2020-03-28
438(+6%) 10(+25%)
2020-03-29
446(+2%) 11(+10%)
2020-03-30
463(+4%) 12(+9%)
2020-03-31
479(+3%) 14(+16%)
2020-04-01
494(+3%) 14(=)
2020-03-02
508(+3%) 17(+21%)
2020-03-03
520(+2%) 17(=)
2020-03-04
527(+1%) 18(+5%)
2020-03-05
541(+3%) 19(+5%)
2020-03-06
548(+1%) 19(=)

Sources:

On 21 February 2020, Lebanon confirmed the first case of COVID-19, a 45-year-old woman traveling from Qom, Iran tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was transferred to a hospital in Beirut.[7]

On 26 February, a woman, who returned from Iran and was on the same plane as the first patient, also tested positive.[8][9]

On 27 February, a 77-year-old Iranian man, who arrived from Iran on 24 February, tested positive and was admitted to Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut.[10][11]

On 28 February, a Syrian woman tested positive and was admitted to Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut.[12]

On 29 February, the total reached 7 confirmed cases.[13]

March 2020Edit

On 1 March, the Ministry of Health announced 3 new cases, which had been in self-isolation following their arrival to Lebanon from Iran days before. Bringing the total to 13 cases.[14]

On 4 March, total confirmed cases reach 15.[15]

On 10 March, the first coronavirus-related death is recorded.[16]

On 11 March, Rafik Hariri University Hospital announced the second death due to the virus in Lebanon to a 55-year-old man.[17] There were also 9 new cases. The first fully recovered patient was also announced.[18]

On 12 March, the third death was reported for a 79-year-old man. He was infected from the first deceased patient at a hospital in Jbeil.[19]

On 13 March, total number reaches 78 in Lebanon, which includes an employee at the Ministry of Public Health.[20][21]

On 14 March, 15 new coronavirus cases are announced in Lebanon, bringing the total of 93.[22]

On 15 March, 6 new cases are announced, total at 99.[23] Lebanon declared a state of medical emergency.[24] The government announced the closure of Beirut Airport, seaports and land entrances for 2 weeks, starting from March 18.[25]

On 21 March, Prime Minister Hassan Diab in a televised speech urged people in Lebanon to implement "self-curfew," adding that the lockdown measures will be enforced more strictly by the security forces.[26]

On 26 March, Lebanon imposed a partial curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. to slow the spread of the virus. 35 new cases were also announced, bringing the total number of infected to 368.[27]

On 30 March, there were 446 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.[28]

April 2020Edit

On 2 April, Philippine ambassador to Lebanon, Bernardita Catalla, died of COVID-19 in Beirut at the age of 62. She was the first Filipino diplomat to succumb to the disease.[29]Human Rights Watch released a report saying that at least 21 Lebanese municipalities have introduced discriminatory restrictions on Syrian refugees that do not apply to Lebanese residents as part of their efforts to combat COVID-19, undermining the country's public health response.[30]

On 4 April, the Minister Of Health department announced that the total cases of COVID-19 are 520.

ContainmentEdit

EducationEdit

On 28 February, the Minister of Education Tarek al-Majzoub announced the closure of all educational institutions starting on 29 February until 8 March.[31] The decision was seen as unnecessarily strict by some universities including the American University of Beirut, the Lebanese American University, and the Univeristé Saint-Joseph who called for evidence-based decision-making to avoid unnecessary panic. After initially announcing that it would stay open in the face of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, and ignoring the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education's request that it shut down, in early March 2020 the university announced that it would close down.[32][33] The universities did ultimately abide by the decision and close after discussions with the Minister of Education.[34] The American University of Beirut has consequently formed an expert committee for independent advising on the pandemic.[35]

On 6 March, the Minister of Health Hamad Hassan declared that "Lebanon is no longer in Coronavirus containment stage" following the entry of several new cases to Lebanon coming from countries previously classified as not infected and urged the population to take preventive measures such as avoiding public venues, like resorts and theaters.[36] Following this statement, the closure of schools, universities, and nurseries was extended to March 14.[37]

ReligionEdit

In reaction to the pandemic, several religious institutions in Lebanon decided to act proactively changing traditional ceremony methods to limit the spread of the virus. Churches and Mosques have been cleaned and disinfected, and practices have been adjusted. Within Christian communities, churches have emptied fonts of Holy water, and communion is carried out by handing the Eucharist instead of placing directly in the mouth. Similarly, within Muslim communities, it was recommended that people use their own prayer rugs and do ritual cleaning at home. Instructions by both religious parties recommend greetings without hand-shaking nor kissing.[38]

Public places and businessesEdit

On 21 January, weeks before the first case in Lebanon was confirmed, the Lebanese Football Association announced that they would suspend operations due to financial reasons; this suspension caused all remaining games of the 2019–20 Lebanese Premier League season to be cancelled.[39]

On 6 March, gyms, cinemas, theaters, and nightclubs were ordered to close their doors.[40][41]

On 11 March, all restaurants in Lebanon closed.[42]

On 12 March, most major malls announced their closure until further notice.[43]

GovernmentEdit

On 9 March, Lebanese Parliament closed down.[44] All people were instructed by the government to stay home and the army was asked to interfere by order from Lebanese president and prime minister.

On 12 March, the government announced that internet service through the public provider Ogero would be boosted through the end of April, to encourage users to stay home.[45] Other private internet companies and phone line companies followed suit with similar discounts/boosts for their customers.[citation needed]

TechnologyEdit

On 21 February 2020, the international Lebanese website, "Lebanon Info Center",[46] was the first Lebanese website to officially cover the COVID-19 situation in Lebanon, with its page "Lebanon Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency", thus, it was the first to offer official emergency and cases numbers, non-commercial recommendations and advice that are based on science and the actual situation on the Lebanese territories.[47]

On 12 March 2020, a media site in Lebanon, The961, announced[48] the launch of a live tracker monitoring the number of confirmed cases, deaths, and recoveries in Lebanon in real-time, manually cross-referencing three sources by directly communicating with the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization and the Lebanese Red Cross.[49] In the announcement thread, The961 founder, Anthony Kantara, explained the frustration of the lack of consistent and clear information as the motivator. The dedicated page also includes the latest news, updates and FAQs surrounding COVID-19.[50]

On 19 March, the Information Minister Manal Abdul Samad launched a government site dedicated to the COVID-19 outbreak in Lebanon.[51] However, the website updates may depend on the ministry availability constraints.

PoliticizationEdit

As the first flight introducing coronavirus patients was a flight from Qom, Iran—a city plagued by the coronavirus—some Lebanese citizens and media have cast blame onto Iran and Hezbollah for being silent about the issue and not taking necessary measures against it. Some agents blamed Iran for bringing in the virus to the country. Following that, Information Minister Manal Abdul-Samad warned against involving political tensions in the pandemic.[52]

Economic ImpactEdit

Non-payment of salaries was reported.[46] A suffocating economic crisis has left Lebanon's poor with little or no means to cope with extra hardship.[53]

ControversyEdit

Lebanon has faced a significant shortage of test kits amidst the outbreak. Al Jazeera reported that undocumented migrants have no access to testing.[54] Refugees of the Syrian civil war are living in crowded refugee camps with poor sanitary conditions and little water. The majority lack residency permits and are afraid they will be deported to Syria if they seek testing or treatment.[55]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Lebanon Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency". Lebanon Info Center. Lebanon Info Center. 21 February 2020. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  2. ^ Elsevier. "Novel Coronavirus Information Center". Elsevier Connect. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  3. ^ Reynolds, Matt (4 March 2020). "What is coronavirus and how close is it to becoming a pandemic?". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Crunching the numbers for coronavirus". Imperial News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  5. ^ "High consequence infectious diseases (HCID); Guidance and information about high consequence infectious diseases and their management in England". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  6. ^ "World Federation Of Societies of Anaesthesiologists – Coronavirus". www.wfsahq.org. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
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External linksEdit