Lebanese woman gives birth after testing positive for virus

A doctor with the baby, born to a virusinfected mother at the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut. (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 16 May 2020

Lebanese woman gives birth after testing positive for virus

  • Newborn girl quarantined as health teams race to contain outbreak

BEIRUT: A Lebanese army soldier who contracted the coronavirus transmitted the disease to his pregnant wife a few hours before she gave birth by caesarean section.

Residents of Ketermaya in Mount Lebanon voiced their alarm after it was revealed that Sarah Youssef Mansour, 30, had tested positive for the virus.

Mansour, who has two children with Ghadanfar Tafesh, visited her husband’s parents for an iftar gathering before going to hospital to give birth to her third child.

A precautionary test carried out at the hospital before the caesarean birth showed she was infected with the coronavirus.

Mansour was transferred to Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, while her husband and two children underwent testing for the virus.

Tafesh, a Lebanese army soldier, tested positive, but showed no symptoms of the infection. It is believed he contracted the virus from other infected soldiers or from a military hospital where he processed his wife’s documents.

After Mansour gave birth to a baby girl by caesarean delivery, the hospital’s specialist medical team took photographs with the mother and child while raising their hands with the “V for victory” signs.

The monitoring doctor said: “The newborn baby is in good condition and has been put in isolation until tests show that she is not carrying the virus.

Health authorities announced travel restrictions and increased testing in nearby areas.

Ketermaya Mayor Yahya Alaa Al-Din told Arab News that “a large number” of people who had been in contact with Mansour will be tested for the virus by next Monday. He said that 13 soldiers in the region had contracted the virus in recent weeks.

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A precautionary test carried out at the hospital before the caesarean birth showed she was infected with the coronavirus.

Lebanon’s health ministry on Friday recorded five new infections in its daily report, raising the total number of infections to 891.

However, there have been claims of dozens of new infections, mostly soldiers and their families, in the town of Chehime, about 8 km from Ketermaya.

Health ministry tests revealed more than 200 infections, with 43 families in Chehime put in home quarantine as a precautionary measure.

In the nearby town of Barja, two infections were recorded and 120 people placed in home quarantine.

MP Bilal Abdullah, who represents the Iqlim El-Kharroub region, told Arab News that although the area has a high population density, “people are still going about their daily lives as usual, socializing, and going to banks and shops.” “We call on people to be alert and abide by the precautionary measures,” he said.

Abdullah said that after the government announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions, “people think that the disease has receded and are neglecting precautionary measures.”

Ketermaya’s mayor said that many are dealing with the pandemic “as if it is a stigma, which makes them refrain from undergoing tests or admitting to having symptoms.” Lebanon's lockdown will continue until early Monday. After attending a meeting of the Supreme Health Council, Health Minister Hamad Hassan said: “If we want to reduce general mobilization procedures, we should consider mandatory wearing of face masks, which could offer up to 95 percent protection.”

He said that the ministry “is following up the case of the families and contacts of soldiers, which is why we closed the borders to the region.”

“We must all work to prevent the tragedy of other countries. That is why we should stick to the strictest precautionary and preventive measures while avoiding contact with other people,” Hassan added. Meanwhile, more Lebanese expatriates have returned from Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Accra, Kinshasa and London, landing in Rafic Hariri International Airport.


US blasts Houthis over ‘ticking time bomb’ tanker in Red Sea

Updated 10 August 2020

US blasts Houthis over ‘ticking time bomb’ tanker in Red Sea

  • Iran-backed militias renege on agreement to allow UN inspectors aboard stricken vessel holding 1.4 million barrels of oil

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: The US blasted Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen on Sunday for reneging on a deal to allow UN teams to board a rusting oil storage vessel that threatens an environmental disaster in the Red Sea.

The FSO Safer has been moored 7 km off the coast of Yemen since 1988. It fell into Houthi hands in March 2015, when they took control of the coast around the port city of Hodeidah.

The Houthis briefly bowed to pressure last month and agreed to allow a team of UN engineers to visit the ship, before changing their minds and restating their previous demands for the revenue from the oil. As the vessel’s condition deteriorates there are fears that the 1.4 million barrels of oil it contains will start to seep out.

“The Houthis have failed to follow through on their agreement to allow a UN team on to the Safer,” the White House National Security Council said on Sunday.

“They are courting environmental and humanitarian disaster by obstructing and delaying. For the good of Yemen and the region, the Houthis must allow the UN aboard the Safer.”

A recent water leak into the tanker’s engine prompted warnings of a major disaster.

“The time has come for a resolute response for an outcome,” the Yemen Embassy in Washington said on Sunday. 

“There cannot be more delays or deliberations. UN inspectors must immediately access and assess the Safer oil tanker even without Houthi permission.”

The UK echoed its concerns. “There is another floating disaster off the Yemeni coast with potentially as massive an ecological footprint as the shockwave that engulfed Beirut,” former Middle East minister Alistair Burt said. “The politics preventing safe evacuation of the oil must stop immediately.”