BEIRUT (Reuters) – President Michel Aoun declared Lebanon’s medical emergency in Sunday and urged people to work from home as the country stepped up measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"Each of us is encouraged to continue working from home as we see fit," said Aoun in a television speech at the beginning of a cabinet meeting announcing measures to combat the outbreak.
Lebanon, already hit by a deep financial crisis, said the total number of cases had reached 99. So far, three people have died.
Health officials have warned that a major outbreak could seriously impact Lebanon's battered medical resources after a month-long dollar shortage that has weighed on supplies.
Lebanon has ordered restaurants and many public venues to close last week, and flights from many corona-infected countries have been suspended.
To reduce the potential threat, security forces were dispatched to Beirut's seafront corniche to disperse the crowds that had come to enjoy one of the city's few public spaces.
"We heard that they would impose a curfew, so we said we should use last Sunday and the sea," said Mohamed Sabah, a film producer.
According to the Lebanese media, Lebanese banks will be closed until March 29, two days after the central bank asked commercial banks that have put in place strict capital controls to give preference to hard currencies to import corona-related supplies.
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