The Lebanese Ministry of Public Health confirmed a third case of coronavirus in Lebanon, after a man arriving from Iran on February 24 tested positive. This means that all three infected people so far were onboard Iranian planes.

The minister has pointed out that the health ministry has already taken precautions in order to confront the virus, especially at the Rafic Hariri International Airport where thermal detection and sterilization devices have been put in place, but there’s not enough medical personnel and staff at the airport unfortunately, and Lebanon is seeking WHO’s assistance to confront coronavirus.

Is Lebanon prepared for an epidemic/pandemic?

No we’re not, but no country is really prepared to confront the virus. Nevertheless, first world countries have enough budgets and medical personnel to handle an increasing number of cases and take as many preventive measures as possibly needed, while we’re lacking sterilization devices, and we’re treating patients at one hospital only so far.

Added to that, we’ve heard several testimonies of negligence at the airport and a complete lack of medical or ministerial staff. Check out this video presumably from the airport where there’s no one from the ministry to assist people in need.

Coronavirus vs flu: Which is worst?

I’ve seen a lot of people state that the flu can have more severe consequences on one’s health, which is true but the mortality rate for the coronavirus is much higher, and the incubation period is 14 days if not more, vs 5-7 days for the flu. Moreover, the fact that the majority of patients have mild symptoms is good and bad news, as many may not realize they have contracted the virus, and continue in their daily lives — traveling, kissing, coming into close contact with others — and spread the virus without anyone knowing.

Will the coronavirus die out like the SARS or evolve to become seasonal like the flu? There’s no answer yet and there’s still no cure for this virus.

What’s the hotline to report a coronavirus case?

If you have symptoms (fever, cough, nasal cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) within 14 days of coming from an area where new cases have been registered, please call 76-592699.

Why aren’t we banning flights?

This has been a hot topic since day1 and what the ministry has done is unforgivable. I don’t care where the flights were coming from, they should have banned them as long as there was 1% doubt of having a coronavirus case. Yet instead of doing so, they allowed the first Iranian plane in and didn’t impose a temporary ban which is wrong and reckless in my opinion, especially when we saw how negligent the Iranians were in treating infected people and taking precautions.

For those arguing that Lebanese have the right to come back home, no one’s denying them their rights but it wouldn’t hurt to wait for a couple of weeks till we’re prepared to quarantine and treat them. They definitely don’t have the right to act irresponsibly and infect other people.

Should we shut down schools?

I don’t believe we should panic but I think a good idea would be to shut down schools for a week to allow them to equip themselves with the necessary tools, train their personnel, and more importantly spread awareness among the parents and students. That would re-assure all parties and help them understand the situation better.

All in all, we may all contract the virus at some point, and chances are we’re not going to die from it, but given that there’s no cure and how quickly it’s spreading, preemptive drastic measures might help contain the virus especially in a small country like Lebanon.