Lebanon Registers 3,220 New Coronavirus Cases, 57 Deaths
By Staff, Agencies
Lebanon Friday registered 3,220 new coronavirus cases and 57 further deaths, as the country started developing the logistical side of the vaccination program.
The cases were detected among 20,134 PCR tests, a Health Ministry report said. The positivity rate of the tests in the last two weeks stood at 21 percent.
Among the newly recorded cases, only 12 were detected among travelers arriving in Lebanon, according to the Health Ministry report, with the total number of cases since the virus was detected in the country in late February rising to 272,411.
The Health Ministry said 2,336 patients were in hospital for COVID-19, with 892 in ICUs and 289 on ventilators.
Lebanon witnessed a surge in daily virus deaths this week with four consecutive record-breaking days, starting Tuesday with 61 fatalities, Wednesday with 64 and Thursday. The overall number of coronavirus-related deaths since February stands at 2,218.
As cases remained high and hospitals still struggled to face the virus, authorities extended the current lockdown until Feb. 8 in a bid to curb the spread of the virus and relieve the health care sector.
Authorities aim to achieve herd immunity in the country.
In order to reach herd immunity, head of the parliamentary Health Committee MP Assem Araji has said that the latest scientific data reports that over 80 percent of a population must have COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies, achieved through natural immunity or through vaccination. The MP believes Lebanon will meet this target by the end of the year.
Lebanon has so far ordered 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that are supposed to start arriving in shipments from February, enough for 3 million individuals, taking into account that each patient requires two doses of the vaccine.
Araji revealed that 35 vaccination centers would be established across Lebanon, some at public hospitals and some at private hospitals in the capital, with plans of increasing that number in the future. The Health Ministry is also working on online and by-telephone registration systems that will be operational starting Monday.
Dr. Firass Abiad, head of Rafik Hariri University Hospital, revealed Friday that RHUH “will be one of the major vaccination centers assigned by the Health Ministry.”