Beirut, Weekly Report # 11, April 3rd, 2020

Cronache dal Libano

by Yves

Beirut, 3 April

Headlines are still on the Coronavirus pandemic.

While the Lebanese press is reporting that 3,75 billion people are quarantined all over the world, almost half of its population, it announces that Europe has reached a peak of over 26000 deaths. 

In Lebanon, on Thursday, 16 deaths are reported with a total of 494 contaminated and 37 cured. After three weeks of quarantine, in the North of the country in Tripoli as well as in the southern suburb of Beirut and in Saïda, the population seems to be less attentive to the renewed warning announcements of the government. 

In addition, in Tripoli, last Sunday demonstrations were reported showing popular discontent and the fear of lacking food very soon.

Yesterday evening, after some lengthy discussions between political leaders, the government under the pressure of the president of the parliament has approved the return of Lebanese expatriates, mostly those coming from the Gulf states and less touched by the pandemic. This operation should begin this Sunday 5 April and Lebanese authorities have reportedly been looking for hotels in order to keep the newcomers in quarantine for two weeks. A total of 22 000 are expected. However, due to the refusal of some countries to check the health status of these expatriates before boarding, instead of an initial number of 1500 of travelers, only one fourth is going to arrive Sunday. They will be checked after landing at Beirut international airport.On the political front, there are also heavy tensions between Courant Patriotique Libre (CPL) and Courant du Futur (CDF- Saad Hariri) on the nominations to the positions of the four vice- governors of the Central Lebanon bank (BDL: banque du Liban) and to the Control Commission of the Banks and Financial Markets. No agreement having been found between Suleiman Frangié (head of the Marada party) and Gebran Bassil (head of CPL), the government has postponed its decision. Samir Geagea head of the Lebanese Forces party has taken this opportunity to declare that Lebanese politicians should stop working like they used to do before the revolution and designate people because of their political acquaintances but should nominate people because of their competence.