Lebanese Higher Defense Council Recommends Coronavirus Lockdown Extension
By Staff, Agencies
Lebanon's Higher Defense Council convened Tuesday at Baabda Palace and recommended extending the general mobilization against coronavirus until May 24.
"The level of general assessment is good but citizens should not relax [preventative] measures because this will reflect negatively on the spread of the pandemic," a spokesperson of the Higher Defense Council quoted Prime Minister Hassan Diab as saying during the meeting.
Diab is reported to have said that "there is fear of a second wave that could be much worse than the first wave" and recommended extending the general mobilization for two additional weeks on that basis.
The council's spokesperson said that the authorities would take the required measures to bring the security situation back under control, while punishing violators and those who vandalize public and private property. The council recommended that Cabinet ask all security agencies to "strengthen their response to oppress violations" of the lockdown orders.
It also recommended that Cabinet "emphasize the activation and implementation of containment measures," and allow the gradual resumption of economic activities "under specific conditions."
The spokesperson also added that Economy Minister Raoul Nehme said he is working on finding a solution with the competent bodies to the problem of illegal inflation of essential goods' prices.
The council's recommendations come ahead of a Cabinet meeting at Baabda Palace Tuesday afternoon.
Cabinet is in the process of gradually easing coronavirus containment measures that were previously slated to end May 10.
“Despite the multiple disastrous scenarios about coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic, there is much talk about the second wave and a grimmer scene,” Health Minister Hamad Hasan tweeted Tuesday.
“So, we emphasize that as we won the first wager through awareness and cooperation, we will get through the upcoming challenge of cutting loose the restrictions of the general mobilization gradually,” Hasan added.
Restaurants, hair salons and car showrooms in Lebanon cautiously reopened their doors Monday after the government issued new guidelines to ease coronavirus containment measures.
Coffee shops, sports clubs and games pitches, however, will remain closed until a later stage.
The later stages of lockdown easing are set for May 11, May 25 and finally June 8, so long as there is no new wave of infections.