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Lebanon Registers 48 COVID-19 Deaths, 2,668 New Cases in 24 Hrs.

Lebanon Registers 48 COVID-19 Deaths, 2,668 New Cases in 24 Hrs.
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By Staff, Agencies

Lebanon registered 48 new coronavirus-related deaths and 2,668 more cases in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Tuesday.

The cases were detected among 24,003 tests, with only 31 cases found among travelers arriving at Beirut International Airport. The average positivity rate throughout the last two weeks stood at 17.1 percent.

The total number of cases since the virus was first detected in the country on Feb. 21, 2020, rose to 465,007, according to figures released by the Health Ministry. The total number of fatalities now stands at 6,184.

The statistics provided by the Health Ministry also show that 2,176 patients are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 and related complications, with 958 in the ICU and 269 requiring ventilators.

The Health Ministry also reported that 6,589 first-stage jabs and 4,700 second-round vaccinations were administered in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number of inoculations since the Feb. 14 onset to 139,623 first-stage and 77,249 second-stage jabs so far.

Some 300 Middle East Airlines employees received the Sputnik V vaccine Tuesday, and are the first to do so, as 1 million doses have been secured and brought to Lebanon by pharmaceutical company Pharmaline.

Top COVID-19 expert and director of Rafik Hariri University Hospital Dr. Firass Abiad warned about conflating receiving the vaccine with becoming complacent toward coronavirus and its precautionary measures.

In a thread of tweets, Abiad explained that although the COVID-19 vaccine is effective, this does not allow the population to lose vigilance, as “harmful COVID variants can escape from the vaccine induced immunity. A weak surveillance effort, low public adherence to safety measures and loose borders would be the ideal prerequisites for such a virus mutant.”

Abiad added that “the vaccine roll out now should gather pace, and we all have to fight vaccine hesitancy. Vigilance is still required, COVID is a treacherous virus. Human behavior remains our worst enemy. Human scientific endeavor, meanwhile, have proven it is our best hope.”