LCP: Urgent Measures to be Adopted in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

  LCP Politburo
What is required is placing the human interest at the top priorities of this government, prioritizing lives over profits, and the interests of the society over capitalists’ interests.

The Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) sees that the COVID-19 pandemic in Lebanon is becoming more fatal and dangerous every day. Critical indicators started to appear across the country and can be summarized as follows: the high number of reported cases and deaths on a daily basis, hospitals are no longer able to admit new patients, and shortages arise in medical supplies.

Unfortunately, the recent health crisis that the country is witnessing is added to a former one- the severe socio-economic crisis along with all of its implications. In this context, LCP considers that the authorities had failed to respond to this challenge, because they did not provide concrete, viable and serious measures that would eventually lessen the pandemic effects on the citizens’ daily lives. The state institutions neither invested in equipping hospitals and medical centers with the needed resources, nor provided citizens with allowances that would allow them to stay in their homes during the quarantine. On top of that, the government was late in approaching the COVID vaccine producers and providers, with no clear strategy developed up until now.

In this context, LCP proposes the adoption of the following urgent measures:

• The government should secure vaccinations from different sources, not as the case today with a unique agreement with one company (Pfizer) that will supply Lebanon with some of its much needed COVID-19 vaccines. A clear strategy needs to be developed in order to identify the targeted groups of the society who have the priority over others in getting the vaccine, along with a timeline for each group. In addition, all legal and financial requirements of the vaccination program need to developed and prepared ahead of time. In this context, the Lebanese state must immediately approve additional vaccines, such as those produced by Moderna, Sinopharm, Sputnik, and Oxford-Astrazeneca, in a similar way to many countries that preceded us in the process of massive vaccination of their people. The authorities’ failure or unwillingness to do that is not acceptable by any means, and will cause serious public health threats. Hundreds of deaths can be prevented if the government starts negotiations with multiple suppliers. This proves how the country’s political leaders are careless toward the health being of all citizens.

• Provide public hospitals with all the supplies they need to be in a fully operational mode. Moreover, the government should ensure the set-up of field hospitals in different areas in Lebanon. It is noteworthy to mention that several countries had provided Lebanon the equipment of field hospitals, as donations, but they are not assembled and constructed to date. The argument of unavailability of financial resources is an invalid one because such resources can be secured through a wealth tax on the richer.

• LCP takes the opportunity to remind the public of a detailed plan that the party had announced last April. The plan stated the need to provide all workers, especially those who get paid on daily basis along with their families, with monthly allowances that would cover their living expenses during the lockdown. The sources of funding this proposal were also detailed in the plan in a full and detailed manner.

• While the above-mentioned measures need to be adopted on the short term, the state should- however- ensure universal health coverage, which provides all residents with free basic coverage. The Corona crisis has clearly demonstrated that health systems which are based on the private sector and consequently seek profit, have failed to secure the basic health needs for humanity. Not only people were not able to receive proper hospitalization, but not all of them had equal opportunities in accessing health services.

Health policies are a crucial element in any governmental policy. So, to face this pandemic effectively, national solutions should be outlined. The pillars of such solutions should be forming a transitional government, with special and exclusive legislative prerogatives. What is required is placing the human interest at the top priorities of this government, prioritizing lives over profits, and the interests of the society over capitalists’ interests.

LCP Politburo
January 12th 2021

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