Lebanon reinstates lockdown measures after virus rebound

People walk as they wear face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beirut, Lebanon July 28, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 29 July 2020

Lebanon reinstates lockdown measures after virus rebound

  • Lebanon has recorded a total of 3,879 cases of COVID-19, including 51 deaths

BEIRUT: The Lebanese government agreed on Tuesday to reinforce coronavirus lockdown measures after a spike in new cases threatened to overwhelm the crisis-hit country’s health care system.

Lebanon, a country of some 6 million people, has recorded a total of 3,879 cases of COVID-19, including 51 deaths.

Activists on social media shared a video of a Lebanese man in his car arguing with security forces after being fined for failing to wear a face mask.

Authorities decided to shut down the country again following an alarming increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Ministers on Tuesday were tested for the virus before taking part in ministerial session at the Presidential Palace.

President Michel Aoun called for “stricter application” of the lockdown order to limit the “negative repercussions on citizens and residents,” criticizing “people’s disregard for the preventive measures.”

Minister of Health Hamad Hassan said: “People are not abiding by the preventive measures, and people traveling to Lebanon are not respecting the isolation period.”

From Thursday, the country will shut down for five days with another five-day lockdown next week.

Bars, pubs, night clubs, malls, pools, gyms, churches, mosques and game centers will be closed, and all sports competitions, events and religious gatherings will be canceled. People over 65 will be told to stay at home and avoid social activity.

Security forces have arrested two Syrians who allegedly forged PCR tests showing a negative result for sale to Syrians wishing travel to their homeland.

Meanwhile, Iran reported 235 new deaths, a record toll for a single day in the Middle East’s hardest-hit country.

“We have lost 235 of our compatriots due to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours,” taking the overall toll to 16,147, said a health official.


Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

Updated 23 October 2020

Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

  • The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a joint statement by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt that condemns Turkish energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and numerous “provocations” that they maintain are threatening regional peace.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “fully rejected the declaration containing baseless accusations and allegations.”
During a trilateral regional summit on Wednesday in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to end its “aggressive” actions.
The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations. Greece and Cyprus have signed maritime border agreements with Egypt while dismissing a similar deal that Ankara signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based government as “legally invalid.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the declaration attacked Ankara rather than supporting peace and stability in the region. It repeated Turkey’s position that cooperation could only take place with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in governing and sharing the resources of the ethnically divided island nation.
“We will continue with determination to protect our rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean,” the ministry statement said.
The trilateral summit took place amid high tensions between nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey over maritime borders and energy rights.
In late summer, Turkey dispatched a research vessel escorted by warships to conduct seismic research in a part of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece claims as its territory, which prompted the Greek government to deploy its own warships.
Turkey pulled the research ship back to shore for several weeks for maintenance and to allow time for diplomacy but redeployed the Oruc Reis on a new energy exploration mission. A maritime announcement by Turkey says the Oruc Reis and two other ships would continue working in the area until Oct. 27.
Turkey also has had ships prospecting for oil and gas reserves in waters that Cyprus claims as its exclusive economic zone.