Lebanon confirms first Coronavirus case


The case is currently isolated and being hospitalized in Rafik Hariri University Hospital.

by Sally Farhat

Representative picture-Lab assistant works on his research on coronavirus in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo).

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Ministry of Public Health confirmed Friday the fist coronavirus case in Lebanon, with the patient currently quarantined at the Rafik Hariri University Hospital.

The 45-year-old woman arrived yesterday on a flight from Iran, which carried more than 200 other passengers. Two other suspected cases are currently being transported to Rafik Hariri University Hospital, Minister of Public Health Hamad Hassan, said in a press conference.

“There are only two other suspected cases and they will be isolated,” he said. The Ministry had received word that a passenger was carrying the virus before the plane landed, he said, yet did not elaborate if the rest of the passengers were screened.

The hospital is equipped with four negative pressure rooms to handle Coronavirus patients as well as a department for operating on emergency cases.

12 teams from the Lebanese Red Cross are also prepared for a potential outbreak, it said in a statement to LBCI.

Earlier this year, the ministry had taken a number of measures at Rafik Hariri Airport to avoid the virus’ outbreak in the country, including screening all those entering the country from China. All flights from and to China were then suspended as the disease spread.

“The measures we have taken have shown to be efficient. We are more than prepared in terms of identifying cases,” Hamad said, adding that this is not a case of emergency yet and there’s no need to panic. “For now, we will not cancel flights or close borders.”

Lebanese showing any symptoms are requested to call the ministry on 76-592699.

The total number of infected people worldwide exceeded 75,000 this week and more than 2,000 deaths have been reported, mostly in China where the virus is thought to have originated.



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