Lebanon reopens schools despite jump in coronavirus cases
Schoolchildren in Lebanon returned to in-person classes on Monday despite concerns from health officials about their safety as Covid-19 cases in the country rise.
Lebanon recorded 1,056 new coronavirus infections on Monday - the majority spread locally according to health ministry data - bringing the total of confirmed cases to over 54,000.
Despite the jump in cases, schools across Lebanon opened their doors once again to students enrolled in grades 9 and 12, prompting an independent committee of public health workers to call on authorities to revoke the decisions.
The Independent Lebanese Committee for the Elimination of Covid-19 said in a tweet that opening schools would "very likely lead to an increase of cases" and lead to "otherwise avoidable deaths and disease among children and adults".
The decision was also criticised by some public officials who called on parents to defy the education ministry's decision.
"I ask all parents to ignore the wrong, even catastrophic, decision of the minister of education, and refrain from sending their children to school tomorrow," MP Cesar Maalouf wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday.
"We have entered a stage of medical disaster in terms of hospital capacity, medicine provision and rate of infections, but our minister is tweeting from another planet," Maalouf wrote.
Infections in Lebanon spiked in the aftermath of the catastrophic Beirut port explosion on 4 August, which killed over 200 people and injured thousands.
A lockdown of 169 villages and towns across the country also went into effect on Monday, closing all public and private institutions excluding bakeries and pharmacies.
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Students interviewed by TRT said they felt obligated to attend classes despite having fears of potentially catching the virus.
"We as students are not happy with the existing coronavirus measures, because of course everyone is afraid including parents. But what can one do? We don't want to lose a year from our lives so we have to come to school," one student told TRT.
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