Politics & Economics

Libya Declares State Of Emergency To Confront Coronavirus

North Africa

Despite the circumstances of civil conflict, Libya is attempting to curb the spread of Coronavirus by implementing a state of emergency.

Although Libya has not reported any cases of coronavirus so far, the Government of National Accord (GNA) declared a state of emergency on Monday. The GNA’s president, Fayez al-Sarraj, also announced that his government has allocated more than $360 million to support the health system should an outbreak occur in the country.

All borders and airports in Libya have been closed to protect the country from the spread of the virus, as many of its neighbours have already reported cases of COVID-19. Schools and restaurants have been shut down for at least the next two weeks and sporting events have been cancelled. Al-Sarraj also advised the public to pray in their homes, instructing local authorities to suspend prayers at mosques.

Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), has issued instructions to support emergency hospitals at the expense of the armed forces so that they have the correct equipment and trained specialist staff.

However, the National Centre for Disease Control in Libya has stressed that the country is not in a position to deal with the fallout of an outbreak should one occur in the country.

“In light of the lack of readiness and preparations, I consider that Libya is now unable to confront this virus,” said a representative from the Centre for Disease Control.

As conflict between the United Nations-backed GNA and Khalifa Haftar’s LNA continues despite the global pandemic, it is feared Libya’s health system is not strong enough to deal with another blow. The Centre for Disease Control highlighted a lack of financial resources and infrastructure within hospitals to deal with coronavirus.

The continuing conflict and preventative measures are already having an impact on the Libyan people. Food prices have gone up, along with the prices of basic goods. The prices of face masks and hand sanitiser have also increased.