Flying roses: Drone fetes Lebanon mothers despite coronavirus

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Young men prepare roses to be delivered via drone to women on Mother's day, in Haret Sakher near the coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A woman on her balcony reaches out with her children to catch a rose, delivered to her via drone on Mother's day, in Okaibeh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A woman on her balcony reaches out to catch a rose delivered to her via a drone on Mother's day, in the Lebanese coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A woman on her balcony reaches out to catch a rose delivered to her via a drone on Mother's day, in the Lebanese coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A drone flies toward a balcony with a rose attached to it, to be delivered to women on Mother's day, in Haret Sakher near the coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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A drone flies toward a balcony with a rose attached to it, to be delivered to women on Mother's day, in Haret Sakher near the coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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Young men prepare roses to be delivered via drone to women on Mother's day, in Haret Sakher near the coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut on March 21, 2020, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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Updated 23 March 2020

Flying roses: Drone fetes Lebanon mothers despite coronavirus

  • Three students have come up with a new service to celebrate the occasion without flouting social distancing restrictions
  • Lebanon has recorded 206 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, and counted four deaths

JOUNIEH: In a quiet Lebanese town under lockdown over the novel coronavirus, a drone buzzed toward a balcony on Saturday to deliver a red rose to a mother grinning in surprise.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have put a damper on Mother’s Day in Lebanon this year, but three students have come up with a new service to celebrate the occasion without flouting social distancing restrictions.
Down in the street in the coastal town of Jounieh, 18-year-old Christopher Ibrahim texts a teenager who has ordered a flower drop-off for his mother, asking him to bring the family onto the balcony.
He slips a single rose in a ring hanging under the aircraft and it lifts off into the air to carry the flower to its intended recipient.
“It’s Mother’s Day and everything’s closed,” said the engineering student, wearing a light blue face mask.
For almost a week, most Lebanese have been ordered to remain at home to stem the spread of COVID-19. The airport has closed and all non-essential businesses have been told to shutter.
Lebanon has recorded 206 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, and counted four deaths.

“I wanted to think of something that would enable people make their mothers happy in the safest way — without there being contact with anyone,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim, who has filmed weddings using a drone and also volunteers for the Lebanese Red Cross, decided on the idea of an airborne rose.
“I thought if it was delivered by drone, there would be zero contact,” he said.
But beyond cheering up mothers in lockdown, Ibrahim says the unconventional flower delivery service also aims to support medical workers battling the pandemic.
“Everything we make from this project will go to the Red Cross,” he said. Each rose delivery costs between 10,000 and 20,000 Lebanese pounds ($6.60-$13 according to the official exchange rate) depending on the location.
Lebanese officials fear an increase in COVID-19 cases would overwhelm local hospitals, in a country already reeling from an economic crisis and mass anti-government protests.
Lebanon has been largely quiet in recent days, although food stores have remained open and there have been some vehicles in the streets.
Ministers and lawmakers have called for a full curfew, and Prime Minister Hassan Diab was expected to speak on Saturday evening.
An estimated 900 million people are now confined to their homes in 35 countries around the world — two thirds by government lockdown orders, according to an AFP tally.


Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

Updated 04 June 2020

Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

  • US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic
  • Elective medical procedures resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery

MIAMI: Quarantined Florida residents worried about their laughter lines and crows’ feet need frown no longer — Botox is back, and it’s being offered at a drive-through.
On May 4, the US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic. That means certain elective medical procedures could resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery.
Michael Salzhauer, a plastic surgeon known as ‘Dr. Miami’ who has also starred in a reality television show, has been conducting drive-through Botox injections in the garage of his building in the posh Miami neighborhood of Bal Harbor.
Salzhauer said the idea struck him as he was sitting in his car waiting for a blood test for COVID-19 antibodies.
“The areas that we inject Botox are the upper face, exactly the parts of the face that aren’t covered by the mask so it’s really ideal,” Salzhauer said, while wearing a mask, face shield and surgical gown as he waited for his next drive-up patient.
Patients sign up online, paying an average of $600 each for a stippling of shots across their foreheads.
Arman Ohevshalom, 36, was enthusiastic as he waited in line with his wife in their car, although it was their first time receiving the injections.
“It’s very creative, and after seeing how they’re running it I feel just as comfortable as I would in the office,” he said.
Florida’s tattoo artists, however, are frustrated. Shuttered since March, they asking why they cannot open, too.
Botox injections are “kind of like tattooing, he’s injecting stuff into the skin,” said tattoo shop owner Chico Cortez. Florida is home to about 10,000 working tattoo artists, according to the Florida Professional Tattoo Artist Guild.
An emailed statement from a Miami-Dade County spokesperson said Mayor Carlos Gimenez has yet to set a date for reopening tattoo shops. “He is working with industry members and the medical experts to come up with the best way to reopen safely,” it said.