Lebanon Records 20 Deaths, 5,414 COVID-19 Cases
By Staff, Agencies
Lebanon Saturday recorded 20 further deaths from coronavirus complications and 5,414 new coronavirus cases as the caretaker health minister warned the government could resort to imposing a complete lockdown if the surge in infections continued.
Among the newly recorded cases, 14 were detected among incoming travelers, according to the Health Ministry report, bringing the total number of cases since the virus was first detected in late February to 215,553. The total number of deaths now stands at 1,590.
A total of a 26,469 PCR tests have been administered in the last 24 hours. The positivity rate of the tests in the last two weeks stood at 15.7 percent.
The Health Ministry said 1,425 were in hospital for COVID-19, with 535 in ICUs and 168 on ventilators.
Lebanon for the past four days had reported record-breaking daily cases, with 5,440 infections reported Friday.
Caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan told the local al-Jadeed that the government could resort to imposing a complete lockdown with no exceptions to stem the dangerous spread of COVID-19 if private hospitals in the country were unable to respond to the surge.
Caretaker Labor Minister Lamia Yammine announced that she had tested positive for the virus, becoming the fifth minister in the current caretaker government to test positive.
The coast of Jbeil Saturday morning witnessed unusual traffic for the month of January as many families flocked to the beaches to enjoy the warm spring weather in the middle of Winter.
One man who was there with his children told local TV channel LBCI that he didn’t see any harm in going to the beach and basking in the sun while his children played as they had started to grow distressed at home.
The lockdown guidelines this time around do not mention the beach as a location people are banned from visiting.
Many people in Jbeil were not wearing masks, and in some instances social distancing was not practiced.
Security forces later evacuated the area.
Meanwhile, overwhelmed hospitals struggled to deal with this unprecedented surge in infections as they ran out of capacity to take in coronavirus patients.
In Kesrouan, north of Lebanon, Dr. Andre Kozaily, who works at the Bouar Governmental Hospital, told local news outlet MTV that they were treating some virus patients in cars because the hospital had reached its maximum intake capacity.
Numbers are expected to rise even more next week as the true impact of holiday gatherings and parties is witnessed.