Lebanon confirmed 400 coronavirus cases and nine deaths Monday, bringing the total number of registered cases in the country to 20,826.
Monday marked the final day of what was meant to be a stringent two-week lockdown, which was later relaxed following mounting pressure from individuals and businesses struggling as a result of the worst economic crisis the country has seen since the Civil War.
However, it is not yet clear whether measures will be reimposed as the number of coronavirus cases that prompted the lockdown continues to surge. Amid a deadly second wave of the virus, Lebanon’s total number of cases reached 20,000 Saturday.
Of Monday’s new cases, 393 were found among the local population and seven from travelers arriving from abroad. There have now been a total of 200 deaths in Lebanon due to coronavirus complications since the virus was first detected in the country in late February.
Cases were detected among 6,914 PCR tests administered in the last 24 hours, bringing the positivity rate to 8 percent, the Health Ministry reported.
Lebanon’s coronavirus cases saw an alarming surge in August and consequently higher positivity rates, coinciding with the catastrophic Beirut Port explosion that has left at least 300,000 people homeless. Thousands of injuries from the blast further overwhelmed the already-strained health care system.
The country's leading figure in the fight against the virus warned Sunday that the current focus on treatment rather than prevention would backfire – inadvertently harming the most vulnerable sections of the population.
"It is unfortunate that the current coronavirus discussion in Lebanon is centering more on bed capacity than on enforcing community preventive measures. In a country where the majority of health care services are private, a focus on treatment rather than prevention will backfire," said Dr. Firass Abiad, head of Beirut's Rafik Hariri University Hospital.
"This approach favors people who have access to private health care. The vulnerable population, a vast majority already suffering from the economic repercussions of the pandemic, will have access to less than required bed capacity. They will also have less access to testing," Abiad added.
He stressed, "Money cannot buy protection.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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