HIGHER DEFENSE COUNCIL’S STATEMENT

The Higher Defense Council on Tuesday issued the following statement:: “At the invitation of His Excellency, President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, the Supreme Defense Council convened at 11:00am today at the Presidential Palace, to follow-up on latest developments and measures to limit the spread of Corona virus, in light of the high numbers of infected individuals and deaths, in addition to the shortage of intensive care beds in Government and private hospitals.

 

The meeting was attended by Caretaker Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and National Defense Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, Finance Minister, Interior Minister, Economy and Trade Minister, Public Works Minister, Public Health Minister, and Justice Minister.

 

Army Commander, Director General of General Security, Director General of Internal Security Forces, Director General of State Security, Secretary-General of the Supreme Defense Council, Cassation Public Prosecutor, Governmental Commissioner to the Military Court, Army Intelligence Director, Director of Information Branch at the General Security, Director of ISF Information Branch, Assistant General Manager of State Security, Presidency Director General, Security and Military Adviser to the President of the Republic, Health and Social Affairs Adviser of the President, Adviser of the Prime Minister, Head of the Syndicate of Hospitals, and Head of the Lebanese Order of Physicians also attended the meeting.

 

At the beginning, the President spoke about the importance of the meeting held today to discuss measures to be taken to confront the spread of Corona virus in various Lebanese regions, pointing to the need to work to reduce injuries and enable health institutions to play their role in treating the injured.

 

His Excellency also indicated that there are measures which must be taken. The President however stressed that the importance remains in citizen response and awareness of the importance of prevention and cooperation with competent authorities for the success of the goal of the closure which will be taken at the national level, taking into account the conditions of some companies, factories and hospital institutions to enable them to carry out the responsibilities arising.

 

His Excellency, the President, also asserted that prevention is the first and free medicine, and stressed the need for coordination between relevant ministries and departments, indicating that a national conference will be held soon, including all those concerned with the issue of Corona virus, to study the steps to be adopted after the closing period ends, so that the responsibility is inclusive and at the national level.

 

Then, the Prime Minister said “Lebanon today is facing a serious challenge because the Corona pandemic will become beyond our ability to control, and therefore society will be under severe danger. We have crossed the red lines, and it has become a duty for us to raise the level of measures and unfortunately, some of the Lebanese bear an essential part of responsibility in reaching this phase, and if there was commitment to the measures that the government was taking, we would not have been obliged today to raise thceiling of these measures”.

 

The Prime Minister added “I had warned after the first wave of Corona that the second wave would be stronger if the Lebanese didn’t adhere to preventive measures. Today’s health sector is sounding the grave alarm due to the lack of sufficient amounts of beds to accommodate critical cases, and this entire sector demands closing the country for an entire month. We have tried by all means to avoid this decision, but the lack of commitment of some of the Lebanese is what led us to where we are. And I know that the damages of closure are great, not only economically, but also on the living conditions of some social groups as well as for the state. But this is to avoid seeing people die in the street, and there are no vacant places in hospitals to treat them”.

 

The Prime Minister continued “Today we are obliged to take a closure decision to protect our people, and children from the great danger reaching us. From here, I propose to close the country from Saturday, November 14, to give people an opportunity to prepare for the closure, until Monday morning, on the 30th of November. Thus, we can protect the holiday season and the economy if the people abide by procedures, and we have succeeded in reducing infections carrying the pandemic, as happened at the beginning when we were able to be among the 15 countries in the world which succeeded to contain the virus”.

 

Prime Minister Diab concluded “I know that this decision is difficult, but if we do not resort to closure the reality will be more difficult. This decision must be implemented, and all military and security agencies are required to be alert in all regions to strictly implement it. There shouldn’t be any areas which do not comply with the procedure. I know that it is not easy to implement total closure, but the state and its apparatus are concerned with protecting the Lebanese. Without talking about the prestige of the state, we are talking about protecting our people. Therefore, all agencies must cooperate and set up a plan and allocate responsibilities to pursue the implementation of the decision. If we do not succeed in containing the pandemic during the lockdown period, we will extend for an additional period. So we have to try to save the country by extending the closure”.

 

Afterwards, the Health Minister discussed the reality of the health and hospital sectors and the demands of the concerned sectors, who decided that the necessary decision should be taken for general closure. The Health Minister also stressed the importance of the military and security agencies to keep pace with this decision for its proper implementation, asserting the need to raise hospital readiness to increase the number of beds to treat the injured.

 

The Health Minister concluded by informing the attendees that contacts are ongoing to secure the necessary vaccinations that have been shown to be feasible.

 

Then the Head of the Syndicate of private hospital owners presented the hospital reality and showedthe current difficult situation that this sector suffers from, and that hospitals will not be negligent in securing the necessary for patients, but rather within their material, equipment and operational capabilities. This issue has been discussed and the efforts will be made to secure the necessary financial resources for the hospitals.

 

Finally, the head of the Order of Physiciansstressed the need for coordination between the various concerned authorities and for everyone to adhere to the preventive measures and procedureswithin the framework of the general closure, as it has positive implications for the success of the general closure decision.

 

After deliberations and listening to the competent ministers as well as the leaders of the military and security apparatuses, it was decided to continue declaring public mobilization.

 

In the framework of following up on facing this danger through public mobilization, which is stipulated in Article 2 of Legislative Decree No. 102/1983 (National Defense) with the necessary plans and also special provisions dealt with in this article, in addition to the measures and procedures previously taken by the Council of Ministers in its previous meetings.

 

And based on Decree No. 6929 of 9/3/2020 regarding the extension of the declaration of public mobilization to confront the spread of the Coronavirus until 31/12/2020.

 

And based on the recommendation of the ministerial committee charged with following-up on the issue of the Coronavirus on 9/11/2020, during which the Minister of Health presented the data related to the spread of the pandemic.

 

The Supreme Defense Council decided to submit a termination to the Council of Ministers whichincludes complete closure, starting from 5:00amon Saturday, 14/11/2020 until 5:00am, on Monday, corresponding to 31/11/2020 with taking into account the exceptions that were identified in Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 15/3/2020 regarding the declaration of public mobilization to confront the spread of the Coronavirus, which are:

 

First: Closing public administrations and institutions, municipalities and their federations, independent interests, universities, public and private schools, and nurseries, regardless of their differences.

 

With the exception of what is required by necessities of work as follows:

 

– Ministries, public administrations, public institutions, municipalities and their federations in accordance with a mechanism issued according to decisions issued by the ministers or by the authority with authority to a limit not exceeding 25%, under penalty of liability for those who violate those decisions.

 

-The main institutions of the Ministry of National Defense, the General Directorate of Internal Security Forces, the General Directorate of Public Security, the General Directorate of State Security, the General Directorate of Civil Defense, the Lebanese Red Cross, members of the municipal police, municipal guards and fire brigades of all kinds.

 

-The Ministry of Public Health, government and private hospitals, clinics, social care centers, and everything related to the health sector in the hospital, pharmaceutical, laboratory, and medicine fields, and their manufacture, while securing all the requirements of this sector of materials, equipment and needs.

 

-The General Directorate of Social Security, the General Directorate of State Employees Cooperation, guarantor mutual funds, insurance companies, health observers, auditors, and the TPA, in relation to hospital, health, pharmaceutical, and laboratory approvals.

 

– Rafic Hariri International Airport and everything related to its administration as well as the management of all sea and land ports.

 

-The Electricity of Lebanon Corporation and all other institutions and companies that secure and distribute electrical current in all Lebanese regions, with everything related to production, feeding, distribution and maintenance.

 

The Ministry of Communications, the “OGERO”Authority, and everything related to the telecommunications sector in terms of securing the Internet service and the fixed and cellular telephone networks.

 

– The General Directorate of Oil at the Ministry of Energy and Water and the management of oil installations, with everything related to securing, storing and distributing fuels, including fuel stations, companies and institutions that handle the import, storage and distribution of gas.

 

-The General Directorate of Water Resources and Water Institutions, the National Authority of the Litani River, and the General Directorate of Investment, with regard to water security, storage and distribution, and the private companies and institutions that handle the bottling and distribution of water.

 

The Central Bank, the banks and financial institutions, and in coordination with the Association of Banks in Lebanon, companies and institutions of transfer, distribution and transfer of money, and banking institutions, with the minimum necessary to secure the requirements of the conduct of their work.

 

-The ministries of industry, agriculture, economy and trade, with everything related to the import and export of agricultural and animal products, in addition to the collection, transportation and distribution of crops and agricultural products.

 

-Judges and lawyers related to securing remote trials in order to decide requests to release detainees, as well as to consider urgent cases and urgent matters.

 

Members of the diplomatic corps.

 

-Non-governmental organizations, which exclusively provide assistance in the fields of health and food, provided that they obtain a license issued by the Ministry of Interior to facilitate their work and activities.

 

 

 

Second: Suspending work in companies, private institutions, shops of all kinds, and offices of self-employed persons, taking into account the extreme necessity related to work conditions in coordination with the unions of these free professions.

 

With the exception of mills and ovens and everything related to the manufacture, storage and sale of basic foodstuffs, agricultural products and materials needed for them, and delivery services in restaurants and patisseries as well as the rest of the factories at a rate of one-third of its workforce, and also companies and institutions working in the field of transporting goods by air, land and sea, as well as management hotel workers, furnished apartments, security and guard companies, in addition to waste collection, transport and sweeping companies, their users, workers in the media sector and press publications, at a minimum. It also excludes the implementation and completion of restoration and consolidation works and all related requirements in the area affected by the Beirut Port explosion.

 

Third: The concerned ministries are required, each according to their competence and in coordination with each other, as well as from all security agencies, to take all measures that would put this decision into immediate implementation and give the necessary directives to strictly apply it, in addition to strictly respecting safety measures and preventing the Coronavirus, including restricting the movement of cars (tourist and public), trucks (private and public), and motorcycles of all kinds.

 

Fourth: Requesting the Ministry of Information to take the necessary measures to intensify awareness-raising and wishful thinking campaigns on local authorities, civil society associations, and visual, written and electronic media, to maintain awareness plans and instructions to confront the pandemic.–

 

Source: National News Agency

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