BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 13 (UPI) — Lebanon, which entered a 25-day lockdown final week, tightened its measures to sluggish a harmful surge in COVID-19 instances and ease stress on hospitals whose intensive care items have reached full capability.

Alarming scenes of sufferers ready or being handled in entrance of hospitals prompted officers Monday to declare a state of well being emergency, together with a 24-hour curfew for 11 days beginning Thursday and lowering airline passenger site visitors to 20 %, together with stricter measures for vacationers coming from Baghdad; Istanbul and Adana, Turkey; Cairo; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Non-public hospitals have been ordered to extend their capability by including extra ICU beds and warned in opposition to turning away COVID-19 sufferers.

Whereas colleges, universities, retailers and companies should keep closed, supermarkets have been solely to supply supply providers.

The safety forces have been ordered to implement the restrictions, together with forcing these individuals and companies exempted from the curfew to respect security measures, together with staying indoors, carrying masks and training social distancing .

Relaxed guidelines and laxity in adhering to COVID-19 preventive measures culminated with organized gatherings and events throughout Christmas and New Yr holidays. Throughout the previous 10 days, coronavirus instances at one level reached a document 5,500 instances a day.

President Michel Aoun warned through the Excessive Protection Council assembly on Monday in opposition to the “harmful” well being state of affairs, referring to “tragic scenes of residents in entrance of hospitals in search of a seat or a mattress.”

The Lebanese Purple Cross transported 1,256 COVID-19 instances in 10 days to hospitals, principally in Beirut, dashing sufferers from one hospital to a different to discover a vacant mattress. Final week, its operations room witnessed a peak day when it acquired 4,300 calls from individuals complaining of respiratory difficulties or requesting oxygen and medicines.

Dr. Charaf Abou Charaf, president of the Lebanese Order of Physicians, welcomed the brand new authorities measures, saying, “There isn’t a different possibility because the variety of coronavirus instances are rising that a lot and that quick.”

Abou Charaf informed UPI the brand new restrictions might ease the stress on the drained medical employees and permit the almost 140 non-public hospitals, which already accommodate 80 % of Lebanon’s unusual sufferers, to safe extra ICU beds to deal with the rising variety of COVID-19 instances.

He famous, nevertheless, that the 11-day curfew was not sufficient to sluggish the pandemic unfold because the variety of instances is about to extend.

“The chaos through the holidays has made the state of affairs worse and I count on the instances to double,” Abou Charaf stated.

After greater than 2,000 medical doctors and nurses caught the virus through the previous months, 20 % of resident medical doctors are actually contaminated.

“In a single hospital in Beirut, 17 resident medical doctors caught the virus and two medical doctors are within the intensive care unit,” he stated.

Furthermore, monetary issues are limiting the non-public hospitals’ means to extend their capability to confess extra COVID-19 sufferers.

Lebanon is grappling with its most extreme monetary disaster ever. With the nationwide foreign money having misplaced 80 % of its worth, the U.S. greenback skyrocketing within the black market and banks limiting withdrawals from saving accounts, hospitals are struggling to buy medical provides and preserve operations afloat.

Dr. Assem Araji, a heart specialist and a lawmaker who heads the parliamentary well being committee, stated the brand new measures have been a lot better than those adopted beforehand “however a very powerful is to use them and the individuals to respect them.”

“Those that are respecting the coronavirus measures are paying the value of the recklessness of those that do not,” Araji informed UPI. “Throughout this week, we count on to start out receiving the damaging instances of the vacation chaos and the variety of ICU sufferers to extend.”

He defined that 559 of 600 ICU beds are occupied by COVID-19 sufferers, which makes it not possible for the hospitals to confess an anticipated 50 such sufferers per day.

On Tuesday, Lebanon registered a document 32 coronavirus deaths and 4,557 new instances in 24 hours, elevating the entire quantity to 226,948 instances and 1,705 deaths for the reason that outbreak of the virus on Feb. 21.

Based on Araji, 67 non-public hospitals have been reluctant to finish preparations to obtain extra coronavirus sufferers, whereas the government-run Rafik Hariri College Hospital suffered the “nice burden” of treating 50 % of the instances.

Non-public hospitals, a lot of which have been badly broken by the huge blast that ripped by way of the Beirut port on Aug. 4, blamed the delay on the federal government, which didn’t cowl unpaid payments amounting to billions of Lebanese kilos which have been accumulating since 2012.

With hovering unemployment, poverty and inflation charges, the entire lockdown is feared to extend the struggling of the poor households who barely could make ends meet regardless of a brand new authorities choice to start out distributing within the coming few days 400,000 Lebanese kilos to 280,000 households in want.

With the damaging spike in COVID-19 instances, Lebanon badly must safe vaccines rapidly.

In December, caretaker Minister of Well being Hamad Hassan introduced that Lebanon had reserved 2.1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine that will enable it to cowl as much as 20 % of the inhabitants. The primary cargo was anticipated to reach in February.

Nonetheless, the German pharmaceutical big refused to signal the settlement and authorize the usage of its product except the Lebanese parliament passes an emergency legislation that protects it in opposition to any authorized motion in case of uncomfortable side effects.

Araji anticipated the parliament to convene quickly to go the legislation that will additionally enable non-public medical corporations to import the vaccines.

“The vaccine might be distributed totally free by the Well being Ministry, which is looking for a mortgage from the World Financial institution, whereas those that can afford it could possibly get it by way of the non-public medical corporations,” he stated.