KUWAIT CITY, May 23: Lebanon barely absorbed the shock on Thursday when it set a record of 63 infections in one day before a second scary number hit the country on Friday with 62 new cases, which constitutes a strong warning bell about the possibility of the “Land of Cedars” becoming a prey to a second wave of the virus. Lebanon had succeeded since February 21, in controlling the infection before rushing through from the back.
It had eased strict measures within the path of gradually opening the country with the third stage of evacuation that started on May 14 for about 11,000 people.
The returnees on evacuation flights had a large share of the list of infected people announced lately with 27 out of 63 cases but the biggest surprise was that 25 of the 27 passengers were arriving from Kuwait on Tuesday aboard a company plane “Middle East Airlines”, and when it was reported that the coronavirus infected Lebanese nationals from Kuwait were in good condition and home quarantined, the Director General of Rafic Hariri University Hospital Dr Firas Abiad was surprised by the large number of positive cases on the flight from Kuwait, as it included more than 20 percent of the total passengers, which is worrisome.
He said in a series of tweets posted on his Twitter page in English language that numbers recorded on the flight arriving from Kuwait put other passengers at risk as well as the flight crew, asking, “What were the results of the previous PCR exams to go to Beirut? Are these real positive cases? Confirmation is required.”
The official “National Media Agency” reported prior to the arrival of Tuesday’s flight from Kuwait that flights scheduled for May 19 did not include passengers undergoing PCR checks before boarding, and therefore, they will be subject to direct examination upon arrival to the Rafick Hariri International Airport in Beirut. It stressed that passengers would be transferred to hotels designated for them pending the results of the examination.
This development was accompanied by a strategy of Lebanese authorities with the sudden increase of “corona” in isolated areas and the epicenter of infection, especially as the majority of them (cases recorded on Thursday and Friday) belong to groups of contacts, the most prominent are some thirty plus cases in Ras Al-Nabaa – Beirut populated by foreign workers, 18 infections in Majdal Anjar, Bekaa, and 15 in Mazboud (Al-Kharroub region), which necessitated the closure of two towns and isolation of the Beirut neighborhood.
The Lebanese Minister of Health Hamad Hassan blew a resounding surprise by announcing that he was in the town of Marj, Bekaa Valley, where an expatriate who had received many people tested positive five days after he was confirmed negative, and work is underway to search for all his contacts to control the situation.
The municipality later announced that, according to its list, the number of people the young man contacted is approximately 150 and they’ll be tested for the virus in Al-Marj Development Complex In this context, Mayor of Al-Marj, Munawar Al-Jarrah, has taken a decision to completely close all shops and establishments except for food stores, butcheries, vegetable stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and pastry shops, while strengthening preventive measures in the aforementioned institutions