ROUNDUP OF THE WEEK
Gradual lift of lockdown to start
- The government announced a two-week extension of the general mobilization protocol and lockdown until May 10, as well as new measures that will gradually decrease lockdown over five phases.
- Interior Minister Mohamad Fahmi circulated a new decision, effective April 27, that shortens curfew from 9 pm until 5 am, and allows cars to operate on Sundays and institutions to resume their normal shifts.
- The total number of confirmed COVID19 cases, as reported by the Ministry of Public Health, totals to 704, with 24 death cases.
Parliament holds session over two days
- Early this week, parliament held sessions over two days in the UNESCO Palace. Due to lack of quorum, a law to provide assistance to the most vulnerable families was not voted on.
- The law to legalize cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use was passed, while the vote on ceasing the dam construction work in the Bisri Valley was postponed.
- Other laws were not passed including a law to shorten the parliament's mandate, among others.
- Meanwhile, convoy protests were organized in Beirut during the legislative sessions. Protests denounced the laws that were on the parliament's agenda, and two protesters were arrested.
New wave of protests following surge in prices
- The unprecedented surge in prices of food items and in USD/LBP exchange rate triggered protests and roadblocks across the country, denouncing the government's and the Central Bank's policies.
Diab addresses Salameh in an unprecedented attack
- After BDL announced withdrawal of USD deposits in LBP at the exchange rate of private banks, the rate in the market reached 4,000 LBP. Diab attacked BDL's Governor Riad Salameh on Friday, describing his performance in controlling the exchange rate as suspicious.
- In response to Diab's speech on Friday, former PM Hariri released a statement criticizing the performance of the government and accusing Diab of succumbing to political agendas and failing to address people's needs.
- Former Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk and former PM Fouad Siniora denounced Diab's attack on Salameh during the launch of a relief campaign by charity organizations in Dar el Fatwa.
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