Cases of Delta variant of COVID-19 rise in Lebanon

A hospital chief warns that the country's ‘open-door policy’ to bring in hard currency is contributing to the spread of the variant.

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The number of people infected with the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Lebanon has increased to 9 in the last two days. The interim government’s Minister of Health, Hamad Hassan, stated that the cases “came from abroad,” adding that the ministry’s efforts are “focused on encompassing these infections.”

Hassan urged all Lebanese citizens to get vaccinated, tempting them to “maintain what Lebanon has achieved by adhering to precautionary measures, which is a duty for all.”

Lebanon has observed a notable decline in the number of daily COVID-19 infections in the past few weeks, and has seen its travel status updated by several European countries.

On Friday, the latest daily figure of people infected with COVID-19 was 210, with 147 local cases, with the rest coming from abroad. Only two deaths were recorded on the day, with just 15 people placed on ventilators.

However, according to Ministry of Health statistics, the number of Lebanese people registered on the country’s vaccination platform is just 27 percent. The percentage of those who have received their first dose reached only 20.5 percent, while those who received the second dose are currently at 10.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut is witnessing unparalleled numbers of Lebanese returning from abroad to spend their summer vacation at home, which has encouraged authorities to take strict measures to reduce the transmission of the virus.

The medical community warned that the continued influx of people mixed with insufficient screening could lead to a rise in cases.

Dr. Eid Azar, a specialist in infectious diseases, expressed: “There is a similarity between June 2020 and June 2021. People are coming to spend their summer at home after a long period. The Delta variant has begun to infiltrate Lebanon, and it is unacceptable that surveillance remains unprofessional.”

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