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 announces new sanctions on Iran defense ministry, atomic energy agency

Updated 21 September 2020

US announces new sanctions on Iran defense ministry, atomic energy agency

  • US adds five Iranian scientists to sanctions list
  • Washington stands ready to respond to future Iranian aggression

WASHINGTON: The United States slapped additional sanctions on Iran on Monday after the Trump administration’s unilateral weekend declaration that all United Nations penalties that were eased under the 2015 nuclear deal had been restored.
The announcement comes in defiance of the world community, which has rejected U..S. legal standing to impose the international sanctions and sets the stage for an ugly showdown at the annual UN General Assembly this week.

“The United States has now restored UN sanctions on Iran,” President Donald Trump said in a statement issued shortly after he signed an executive order spelling out how the US will enforce the “snapback” of the sanctions. “My actions today send a clear message to the Iranian regime and those in the international community who refuse to stand up to Iran.”

Trump’s administration named 27 people or entities that it said would be subject to UN sanctions, but the world body itself says that the decision is not up to Washington.
Speaking to reporters with fellow Cabinet secretaries at the State Department, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then announced the administration was hitting more than two dozen Iranian individuals and institutions with penalties. Nearly all of them, however, including the Iranian defense ministry and its atomic energy agency, were already subject to US sanctions that the administration had re-imposed after Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018.

Trump’s executive order mainly affects Iranian and foreign entities involved in conventional weapons and ballistic missile activity. A UN arms embargo on Iran is to expire in October under the terms of the nuclear deal, but Pompeo and others insist the snapback has rescinded its termination.
The Trump administration argues that it is enforcing the UN arms embargo that Iran has violated, including through an attack on Saudi oil facilities.
Accompanied by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft and national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Pompeo said the US was acting because the rest of the world is refusing to confront the Iranian threat.

“We have made it very clear that every member state in the United Nations has a responsibility to enforce the sanctions,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters when asked about European opposition.
“That certainly includes the United Kingdom, France and Germany. We will have every expectation that those nations enforce these sanctions,” he said.
“No matter where you are in the world, you will risk sanctions,” he said, warning foreign companies and officials not to do business with targeted Iranian entities.

Craft said, “As we have in the past, we will stand alone to protect peace and security.”
The administration declared on Saturday that all UN sanctions against Iran had been restored because Tehran is violating parts of the nuclear deal in which it agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
But few UN member states believe the US has the legal standing to restore the sanctions because Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. The US argues it retains the right to do so as an original participant in the deal and a member of the council.
The remaining world powers in the deal — France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia — have been struggling to offset the sanctions that the US re-imposed on Iran after the Trump administration left the pact, which the president said was one-sided in favor of Tehran.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, said Monday that there is still a broad agreement among the international community that the nuclear pact should be preserved.
At a conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Salehi said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, has been “caught in a quasi-stalemate situation” since Trump pulled out in 2015.


While insisting it is not pursuing a nuclear weapon, Iran has been steadily breaking restrictions outlined in the deal on the amount of uranium it can enrich, the purity it can enrich it to, and other limitations. At the same time, Iran has far less enriched uranium and lower-purity uranium than it had before signing the deal, and it has continued to allow international inspectors into its nuclear facilities.

The United States has separately been seeking to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has increasingly sought cooperation with Iran on the oil sector.
The State Department said it was again imposing sanctions on Maduro under the executive order from Trump that is based on the UN resolution, pointing to defense transactions between Iran and the leftist Venezuelan leader.

“For nearly two years, corrupt officials in Tehran have worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo,” Pompeo said.
“Our actions today are a warning that should be heard worldwide.”

Furthermore, Elliott Abrams, Washington’s envoy on Iran, said on Monday that the US is concerned about Iran’s cooperation with North Korea and will do whatever it can to prevent it, .
Abrams was responding to a reporter’s question on whether the United States had seen evidence that Tehran and Pyongyang had resumed cooperation on long-range missile development.
He spoke shortly after the Trump administration slapped the new sanctions on Iran.
(With Reuters, AFP and AP)