The blanket coronavirus lockdown and strict curfew restrictions came to an end this morning. At 5 o’clock this morning, new COVID-19 prevention measures went into place, including a shorter curfew between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., the end of the rule restricting driving to alternate days of the week, and the reopening of restaurants, shops and gyms, on the condition that they limit capacity to 50 percent. While the 15-day lockdown allowed hospitals to add nearly 100 additional ICU beds for coronavirus patients, it also saw record daily death tolls, creeping increases in hospitalizations and local test positivity rates sticking around 16 percent.
Parliament approved a nonbinding recommendation to audit the central bank and all state institutions, agreeing that the audits should not be hindered by banking secrecy. MPs voted Friday on the contentious issue — debate over which had led to the collapse of a forensic audit contract with consultants Alvarez & Marsal — in response to a letter sent to Parliament by President Michel Aoun early last week. However, legal experts have panned the move as having no legal significance.
Students at Université Saint-Joseph will head to the polls this week to elect their new student council. Candidates not affiliated with traditional parties at the French-speaking university, founded by Jesuits in 1875, will hope to mirror the gains of independents in student elections at the American University of Beirut, the Lebanese American University and Rafik Hariri University. Unprecedented wins for non-politically affiliated students at these universities was hailed as a small victory for the country’s year-old anti-establishment uprising. Results at USJ are slated to be announced Thursday.
France and the UN will jointly chair an international conference to garner humanitarian aid for Lebanon. The conference, led by French President Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, will be held on Wednesday evening via video call. Macron is pressing ahead with the aid efforts, despite the failure of Lebanon’s politicians to meet the requirements laid out in his road map for radical political, administrative and economic reforms, falling at the first hurdle of forming a government.
Also Wednesday, Lebanese and Israeli officials will meet at the UNIFIL base in Naqoura for the fourth round of maritime border demarcation talks. While the UN described the last round of negotiations on the sea border between Lebanese waters and Israeli claims as “productive,” Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz accused Lebanon last week of constantly changing its stance on how the border should be drawn. Both sides had reportedly presented new, contrasting maps that increased the size of the area of disputed waters.
The blanket coronavirus lockdown and strict curfew restrictions came to an end this morning. At 5 o’clock this morning, new COVID-19 prevention measures went into place, including a shorter curfew between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., the end of the rule restricting driving to alternate days of the week, and the reopening of restaurants, shops and gyms, on the condition that they limit capacity to 50...