BEIRUT: The number of people infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) has risen to 13 in Lebanon after the Ministry of Health announced on Monday that it “recorded three laboratory-confirmed cases.”
Most of those infected are either passengers from an Iranian plane that flew from Qom to Beirut over a week ago, or from their relatives.
The three new cases are all from the same family of a Syrian patient whose son was on board the plane from Qom.
He was infected with the virus, but his condition was not reported at the time, so he transmitted the infection to his family members.
They were placed in quarantine pending the results of the tests that confirmed their infection, before being transferred to Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut.
The Ministry of Health said in its daily statement that the three infected people “had mixed with one of the previously diagnosed cases. As soon as symptoms appeared, a laboratory examination was performed.”
While schools and universities are still closed across Lebanon, decisions regarding other institutions have been issued varying advice by local municipalities. Weekly markets have been closed in the north and south of the country, and in the Beqaa Valley.
Rafik Hariri University Hospital organized a tour for the media in the departments dealing with COVID-19 patients, including the isolation unit, where more rooms have been prepared.
The head of the hospital’s infection control department, Ghada Shuaib, said: “Staff have been trained in how to deal with quarantined patients.”
Four wards have been allocated in the hospital, and each wing accommodates 16 patients in addition to having 8 intensive care rooms and the final isolation department which accommodates 4 patients.
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“The new emergency department is a miniature hospital that has been prepared with a gift from the International Committee of the Red Cross, and was equipped within 24 hours of the spread of the coronavirus,” said Jihad Shehimi, head of the engineering and maintenance department.
The director of the hospital, Dr. Firas Al-Abyad, stated: “There is one case whose condition is unstable because the patient, who is an old Iranian, suffers from severe diseases. The rest of the patients are stable.”