Members of Hezbollah’s health unit were seen disinfecting streets in Lebanon on 24 March in videos which surfaced on social media showing power hoses, thought to contain disinfectant, spraying cars and roads.
Similar scenes were videoed in Iran, despite several epidemiologists calling the practice ineffective.
The move comes just days before head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council Hashem Safieddine said the militia group has allocated 3.5 billion Lebanese pounds ($2.3 million) to help combat the spread of coronavirus.
In an interview with Hezbollah-run Al-Manar TV yesterday, Safieddine said a total of 24,500 personnel are working to implement Hezbollah’s plan, which, the official said, is “consistent with the government’s policies.”
The number is set to include 1,500 doctors, 3,000 nurses and paramedics, and more than 20,000 activists from what Safieddine called the “frontline Islamic Resistance.”
The officials said Hezbollah is “fighting coronavirus with capabilities initially put to confront war and aggression.”
Noting that “in our plan, we have laid down the worst-case scenarios and prepared to confront it with all available capabilities. We also created a committee whose mission is to monitor the situation of Lebanese communities in expatriate areas in order to meet their needs according to our capabilities.”
According to Safieddine, Hezbollah has “established medical diagnostic centres to evaluate and examine cases and determine the procedures required… [and has] prepared 32 medical reserve centres to confront coronavirus in all Lebanese regions.”
Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed Shia militia in Lebanon, which was founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The militia has been designated a terrorist group by the United States and United Kingdom, among others, but remains a powerful force in Lebanese politics, with control over the Health Ministry.
Lebanon’s first recorded case on 20 February was a woman who had returned from Iran, which has the fourth largest number of confirmed infections in the world.
To date, Lebanon’s Ministry of Health has reported a total of 368 cases, and six deaths.