Lebanon is a country that has received little attention during the Covid-19 crisis. As of Monday, the country officially had over 250 coronavirus cases, with four confirmed fatalities. People in Beirut estimate the real number of infections to be four to five times that number, and the government’s decision to deploy the army to prevent people from violating quarantine rules reinforces that view.

For now, the disease still appears to be under control. However, the fear is that if things were to get out of hand, the public health system would be overwhelmed. What makes Lebanon more vulnerable than many other places is that the country is going through a major economic crisis. The state is bankrupt and its ability to withstand a long lockdown, or to import material to address the health emergency, is limited.

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This article was originally published in The National.