Lebanon seeks foreign aid to fight COVID-19: president

Lebanon has been witnessing nationwide protests since Oct. 17 which led to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government while President Michel Aoun has so far failed to hold parliamentary consultations for naming a new prime minister tasked with the formation of a cabinet capable of dealing with the current financial crisis.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said Tuesday that Lebanon is seeking foreign aid to fight COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.

“We do not have all the necessary material and equipment but we are contacting all countries for aid to fight the virus,” Aoun was quoted as saying by a statement released by the presidency.

He added that this aid will be delivered to all those who are combatting the pandemic.

Aoun’s remarks came during his Skype call with the employees of Rafic Hariri University Hospital (RHUH), the leading COVID-19 testing and treatment center in the country.

“The Lebanese are praying for you today because you are facing a war against humanity. You are helping the Lebanese by supporting them while they are at hospitals and citizens feel at ease because they know where to go if they get infected,” Aoun told the employees at RHUH.

The president also spoke with Lebanese Red Cross members saying that he appreciated their sacrifices.

Lebanon’s financial crisis has caused a dollar shortage since September 2019, which has restricted the ability of importers to import vital medical supplies, including masks, gloves, ventilators and other equipment.

The Lebanese government has also not reimbursed public and private hospitals for bills, including from the National Social Security Fund and military health funds.

This has made it harder for the hospitals to purchase medical supplies and hire additional staff to reduce the burden on overworked nurses.

On Tuesday, Lebanon’s number of COVID-19 infections increased to 304 cases.