Four groups of expatriates return to Lebanon
- 1,348 Lebanese citizens living abroad were repatriated in four batches. Despite preventive measures, 27 cases of COVID-19 infections were detected among passengers.
- The Foreign Ministry estimates the total amount of expatriates wishing to return to be 22,000. However, the Public Works and Transportation Minister announced on Thursday that the government is unable to repatriate everyone, as numbers are too high.
- The first phase of repatriation will end on Monday, after which the government will decide on whether to move to the second phase.
Lebanon's financial plan clashes with banks
- The government began discussing its economic plan, tailored to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in terms of austerity measures, unpegging the exchange rate, and privatization.
- The plan estimated the country's economic losses at about $80 billion, with the government seeking to compensate it through bank shareholders and "haircuts" on deposits exceeding $60 billion. The plan was met with fierce criticism from Lebanese bankers and major political forces, under the guise of "protecting people's money."
General mobilization extended until April 26
- The Higher Defense Council extended the general mobilization period for an additional two weeks, until Sunday, April 26, 2020. The decision includes a curfew, suspension of work after 7 pm, and restriction on movement for vehicles based on whether their license plate numbers are odd or even.
- The decision was not coupled with talks regarding any additional aid or compensation for citizens. Rather, the Higher Council of Defense reminded all security forces to strictly "crack down" on violators.
Vengeance against the revolution continues
- Al-Nour Square, the heart of Tripoli's revolution, was reopened by army officers after six months of its blockade. Early Wednesday, the army removed protest tents and concrete barriers.
- Meanwhile, authorities continue to summon activists for interrogation, the last of whom was Gino Raidy. The Anti-Cybercrime Bureau summoned Gino after he posted about an Instagram account promoting Prime Minister Hassan Diab. Gino was released after he deleted the post and replaced it with a letter of apology to Diab.
Palestinians condemn UNRWA's inaction
- The Palestinian Joint Action Committee strongly condemned UNRWA's failure to respond adequately to the threat of a coronavirus outbreak in Palestinian camps. Overcrowding and lack of sanitation in refugee camps have led to mounting fears, especially as there are still no isolation centers in camps.
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