Lebanon’s total number of COVID-19 patients has exceeded 20,000, with the country’s health minister on Monday describing the situation as “delicate and in need of full awareness by all citizens.”
About 12,753 COVID-19 patients were registered during August, while 3,118 cases were registered during the first week of September.
The number of COVID-19 patients whose source of infection was unknown has exceeded 4,000.
Health Minister Hamad Hassan said: “It is the duty of the state to protect society with its health security, and society must respond to the instructions of the Ministry of Health and adhere to wearing masks, hygiene, and instructions issued by the government.”
Many official departments were closed at the weekend in Lebanon for sanitization operations after coronavirus was detected among employees.
Foreign Ministry staff underwent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests after a COVID-19 case was found among them. A retirement home in Beirut’s Ain El-Remmaneh area has recorded infections among the elderly and the staff caring for them.
“It is not easy,” added Hassan. “There are a lot of cases in Lebanon and, unfortunately, there are some deaths. Hence, I ask that precautionary and preventive measures be taken seriously, as all the mobilization and emergency laws are not important if we do not take the measures absolutely seriously.We must be responsible and not transmit the infection to our nearest members of the family.”
The ministry is equipping government hospitals in areas far from the capital with the requirements for receiving coronavirus patients, while private hospitals are working to raise their preparedness in terms of providing intensive care beds and regular beds for COVID-19 patients.
Hassan rejected speculation about the results of PCR tests issued by laboratories accredited by the ministry, and urged people not to “question or underestimate” the pandemic.
Municipalities are monitoring infected people and tracking their condition. They have also resorted to isolating villages until infected people recover to prevent the transmission of the virus to others.
The country’s dire economic situation has, however, prevailed over the preventive measures taken to combat the virus. Restaurants, cafes and bars have resumed activity and security measures are lax in pursuing those breaking COVID-19 procedures by not wearing face masks.
Abdul-Rahman Al-Bizri, an infectious diseases specialist and member of the Health Ministry’s crisis committee, said that Lebanon’s rate of infections was relatively high and would continue to rise.