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Lebanon Registers 52 New COVID-19 Deaths, 3,469 Cases

Lebanon Registers 52 New COVID-19 Deaths, 3,469 Cases
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By Staff, Agencies

Lebanon Thursday registered 52 more coronavirus-related deaths, and 3,469 new cases, as the vaccine rollout slowly continues.

The cases were detected among 19,681 tests, with only two cases found among travelers arriving at Beirut International Airport. The positivity rate throughout the last two weeks stood at 18 percent, a 0.3 percent increase from the data released Wednesday.

The total number of cases since coronavirus was first identified in Lebanon on Feb. 21, 2020 has risen to 366,302, as per statistics released by the Health Ministry. The total number of fatalities now stands at 4,560.

The data provided by the Health Ministry also shows that 2,168 are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 and related complications, with 913 in ICUs and 286 on ventilators.

Lebanese MPs came under heavy fire Tuesday as 16 of them are reported to have been inoculated at Parliament, a decision that is now reported to have been taken by caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan.

In an interview with Lebanon TV, Hasan said that he “took a sovereign decision to send medical teams to Parliament in order to conduct the vaccination process for MPs in appreciation for their efforts.”

News of the inoculation of the MPs sparked a national outcry, and angered many who pointed to the fact that this was a clear violation of the vaccination plan, and yet another major display of privilege for the MPs.

Head of the national COVID-19 vaccination committee Dr. Abdel Rahman al-Bizri condemned the inoculation of MPs, saying it was a “violation that cannot be tolerated.”

Hasan responded to the public and Bizri by calling their reactions “exaggerated,” attempting to justify his decision by saying that “the vaccine that President Michel Aoun received is the same vaccine that the citizens received in the Bekaa, Akkar, Beirut and the south, and all Lebanese regions, and this is justice."

Head of Parliamentary Health Committee MP Assem Araji said in a call with the local al-Jadeed that he had registered his name on the platform to receive the vaccine as a doctor who was still practicing his work in the intensive care department and the COVID-19 department, explaining that he received the vaccine on this basis.

Araji commented on the vaccination process that took place in Parliament, pointing out that there was no executive authority for the Parliamentary Health Committee and that the authority boiled down to the health minister, indicating that he had no knowledge of the vaccination process that was taking place in the Parliament.