Following Beirut’s explosion, Lebanon opposes corruption in cases of coronavirus

BEIRUT – Lebanon’s health care system suffered a double blow due to this month’s explosion in Beirut, which severely damaged six of the capital’s hospitals and left the rest dead.

Now, trained doctors and nurses face a new challenge: a worrying rise in coronavirus infections that threatens to overcome the diminished capacity of hospitals.

The Lebanese health carpenter on Monday called for a two-week nationwide shutdown to curb the spread of the virus, as the country recorded a one-day record of 439 cases. “The situation is unbearable,” he told a local radio station, according to the National News Agency.

The country initially prevented a major outbreak by shutting down early to protect its harmful health care system. But cases began to escalate as the government lifted cash-strapped restrictions, including reopening Beirut airport in June to pull in much-needed hard currency.

The blast at Lebanon’s main port on August 4 likely accelerated the spread, according to medical professionals. In the wake of the explosion, the residents of Beirut’s shock gathered in mourning, solidarity and anger – often wearing masks but leaving social distances.