Lebanese doctors at Beirut hospital to go on strike due to coronavirus pressures

Published: Updated:

Doctors at the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Lebanon that has been treating coronavirus patients will go on strike beginning Thursday, local media reported Wednesday.

The doctors said they would begin their strike on Thursday morning, according to local media outlet Al Jadeed.

“Because of the dangers, hardships, and harsh conditions under which hospital staff suffer, and the indifference that has become evident by management and stakeholders, the decision was taken…. to go on strike,” a statement from the committee of employees, contractors, and procedures at the hospital read.

Read more: Lebanon restaurant owners decide to temporarily close down premises amid coronavirus concerns

Lebanon recorded its first coronavirus death earlier on Tuesday, a 56-year-old man who had been receiving treatment at the state-run Rafik Hariri hospital. There are 68 known cases nationwide as of Wednesday.

The country was already facing some medical supply shortages due to the months-long economic crisis in the country, and hospitals had reported shortages of blood bags and stints as early as October.

Read more: What are the chances of surviving coronavirus? It depends on your age and gender

The health care system in the country is also in disarray from years of mismanagement with the government owing private facilities an estimated $1.3 billion in unpaid dues – used to pay staff and purchase medical supplies – since 2011.

Since October 2019, when a liquidity crisis began to be felt in Lebanon, importers of medical supplies, and other goods, have struggled to secure enough dollars to pay for their imports.