Coronavirus — Cases in Lebanon Surging

  • The epidemic in Lebanon seemed to stabilize in recent weeks, but it began to heat up again on the 10th.
  • Lebanon’s economy has been crumbling, and this year has witnessed the impact of the epidemic.
  • On Monday, World Health Organization Director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "too many countries [were] headed in the wrong direction." 

The Lebanese Ministry of Health announced that there were 166 new cases of COVID-19, a single-day high after the outbreak in February. According to National News Agency (NNA) statistics, so far, a total of 2,334 cases have been diagnosed and 36 died.

COVID-19 was confirmed to have reached Lebanon in February 2020. As of July 14, there were 2,451 confirmed cases and 37 deaths.

The epidemic in Lebanon seemed to stabilize in recent weeks, but it began to heat up again on the 10th, and the number of people infected with the epidemic broke through 300 in 3 days. The Lebanese Red Cross tweeted that they had sent 131 confirmed employees of a cleaning company to the isolation center.

The Lebanese Health Minister, Hamad Hassan, said that the 131 people were included in the 166 confirmed cases announced, and this data represents the “peak” of the epidemic. He also told the local media that it is not impossible for the epidemic to wreak havoc again, but the probability is “very small.” It seems that he wants to downplay the seriousness of the case.

Lebanon gradually loosened the lockdown measures at the end of April. It was locked down for another four days in May due to the return of the epidemic. In early July, the airport was restarted and closed for more than three months, allowing passengers to enter the country by plane.

Lebanon’s economy has been crumbling, and this year has witnessed the impact of the epidemic. Not only has the exchange rate reached a record low, but nearly half of the population has fallen into poverty.

Dr. Tedros: Many Nations Headed in Wrong Direction

On Monday, World Health Organization Director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “too many countries [were] headed in the wrong direction.” He added that he current anti-epidemic effects in different countries are very different, and the epicenter of the world epidemic situation is still in the Americas.

There is no shortcut to responding to the epidemic, Dr. Tedros said, and governments must adhere to basic public health prevention and control measures. Dr. Tedros also said that countries reported more than 230,000 confirmed cases to the WHO, of which 80% of the cases came from the 10 countries with the newest cases. About half of the cases came from two countries: the United States and Brazil.

Dr. Tedros pointed out that although all countries are affected by the epidemic, the severity is quite different. The epidemic situation in various countries is roughly divided into four categories. In the first category, some countries in Southeast Asia, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, and Africa remain vigilant, fully prepared, and respond quickly and effectively to early cases to avoid large-scale outbreaks.

In the second category, countries in Europe and other regions have experienced outbreaks, but measures such as isolating patients and maintaining social distance have successfully contained the outbreak. These two types of countries have controlled the epidemic by adopting comprehensive measures to detect, treat, isolate confirmed cases, and maintain social distance.

The third category, after the first wave of epidemic peaks in some countries, has passed, restrictions have been relaxed and new challenges are being faced. New cases are increasing rapidly, and some countries’ medical systems are facing a run-off risk.

In the fourth category, the epidemic situation in some countries in America, South Asia, and Africa is spreading rapidly. The epicenter of the global epidemic is still in the Americas, and confirmed cases in the Americas account for half of the world.

Dr. Tedros said that the actions of the first two countries proved that even after experiencing explosive transmission, there is still a chance to take action to curb the spread of the virus. After the epidemic situation spread rapidly in some cities and regions, strict restrictive measures were taken again to curb the epidemic situation.

The WHO is committed to working with all countries to curb the spread of the virus, reduce mortality, support community actions to protect themselves and others, and support the government’s strong leadership and coordination role.

Dr. Tedros said that the new coronavirus is still our number one enemy, but the actions of governments and people in many countries have not reflected this. The virus has raged, and leaders of some countries have released chaotic signals that have eroded the most precious trust in dealing with the outbreak.

If the public does not follow basic public health principles, maintain social distance, wash hands frequently, wear masks, observe etiquette when coughing, and stay at home when sick, if basic public health measures cannot be implemented, the epidemic will only get worse.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. Its predecessor, the Health Organization, was an agency of the League of Nations.

Dr. Tedros said that every leader, every country, and everyone can contribute to breaking the virus transmission chain and ending the epidemic. Some leaders are responding to difficult situations.

In addition to the epidemic, other public health, economic, social, and cultural challenges must be considered, but there is no shortcut to responding to the epidemic. Before effective vaccines come out, we must still focus on using existing tools to curb the spread of the epidemic and save lives.

Dr. Tedros said that in the foreseeable future, the world will not return to the state of the past, but it can still control the epidemic and continue our lives. To achieve such a goal, the following aspects need to be achieved.

First, reduce mortality and curb the spread of the epidemic. The second is to empower the community and encourage people to take protective measures that are beneficial to others. The third is the strong leadership and coordination of the government, the introduction of a comprehensive strategy, and the transmission of clear and consistent signals.

Dr. Tedros said that scientific research should be accelerated as much as possible, find a comprehensive plan to deal with the epidemic, unite to form a global response to the epidemic and rely on science, action, and unity to overcome the epidemic.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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