Agencies _ On Thursday, the authorities in Lebanon extended the general closure period for an additional two weeks, in light of an unprecedented jump in the number of injured and deaths recorded since the beginning of the year as the country plunges into its worst economic crisis.
A tight general lockdown has been in effect, including a round-the-clock curfew, which was scheduled to continue until the 25th of this month. However, doctors and health sector officials have appealed to the authorities in recent days to extend the closure period, with the continued high rate of positive examinations and the daily increase in the number of intensive care patients.
After an exceptional meeting at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, the Supreme Defense Council announced the extension of the full closure decision until the morning of February 8th. And he asked the military and security agencies to strictly implement the decision.
The authorities maintained a curfew, with few exceptions for workers in vital health facilities, military personnel and journalists. It also kept the shops closed, to adopt a delivery service.
The health sector is suffering from severe pressure beyond its capacity, with more than 264,000 injuries, including 2,084 deaths, recorded since the start of the epidemic. The authorities are working to raise the readiness of hospitals, by increasing the number of beds in intensive care rooms and equipping government hospitals to accommodate the increasing spread of the virus.
Dr. Firas Abyad, General Director of the Rafic Hariri University Hospital, the main government facility leading the efforts to tackle the epidemic, said in a tweet Thursday, “In assessing the epidemiological phase, Lebanon is currently in the fourth (and worst) level: an out-of-control epidemic with limited health system capacity. , Which requires extensive measures to avoid the high demand for health services and thus increase the morbidity and mortality rates significantly.
According to the latest statistics published by the World Health Organization on Wednesday, the occupancy rate in intensive care beds in Lebanese hospitals is currently 91 percent, and 97.89 percent in Beirut. Several hospitals announced last week that they had exceeded their capacity.
The huge rise in infections in the country is mainly due to the easing of restrictions in December during the festive period, with frequent gatherings in homes and the reopening of bars and cabarets until late at night, in an attempt to revive the deteriorating economic situation.
On Thursday, the World Bank announced the allocation of $ 34 million to finance Lebanon’s access to vaccines. “This represents the first operation financed by the World Bank to purchase Corona vaccines … for more than two million people,” he said in a statement. “It will arrive in Lebanon in early February.”
Lebanon is working to obtain six million vaccines, according to the head of the Parliamentary Health Committee, Representative Assem Araji, on Thursday.
And the Ministry of Health announced on Sunday that Lebanon has signed the final contract with Pfizer to secure more than two million vaccines, which will arrive gradually at the beginning of next month. This contract is in addition to an agreement signed in October with the global Kovacs platform, to secure two million and 700 thousand vaccines from multiple international companies that will arrive in succession to Lebanon.
The authorities are working in cooperation with the private sector to secure two million vaccines from AstraZenka and Cinopharm, starting next month, and additional vaccines have been booked from Johnson, which will arrive once the global approval for the vaccine is over, according to the Ministry of Health.
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