Lebanese health experts warn of resurgence in COVID-19 after Beirut blasts

Source: Xinhua| 2020-08-09 19:20:56|Editor: huaxia

by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese health experts warn of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections following the blasts that hit Lebanese capital Beirut killing at least 158 people and injuring 6,000.

"I believe that COVID-19 infections will increase in the coming 10 days. We know that the incubation period of the virus is seven to 10 days so we expect an increase in the number of cases by then," Firas Abiad, director general of Rafic Hariri University Hospital, told Xinhua.

Abiad said that it is hard for Lebanese citizens to follow precautionary measures due to the repercussions of the deadly explosions that damaged parts of the city.

After the explosions that rocked Beirut on Tuesday, thousands of injured people were sent to hospitals for treatment, many volunteers gathered to remove shattered glass from streets, and thousands took to streets in downtown Beirut in anti-government protests that demand the overhaul of the political system.

"We cannot force people to adopt proper measures like wearing masks and respecting social distancing measures during such tough times," Abiad said.

Meanwhile, Assem Araji, the head of the Parliamentary Health Committee, told Xinhua he also expects an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections in the coming days after Beirut's disastrous blasts.

"We already had big worries about the capacity of the health sector to cater to an increasing number of COVID-19 patients before Beirut's blasts. The situation is more dangerous now," Araji said.

Araji noted that Lebanon has around 1,500 ventilators, but some of these ventilators are already in use by patients who suffer from heart and lung diseases, COVID-19 patients and injured people from the blasts.

"Today we need more ventilators, field hospitals, personal protective equipment as the health sector is in a very difficult situation," he said.

Lebanon has received in the past two days field hospitals from a number of countries, including France, Jordan, Russia and Qatar, to aid in the treatment of injured people and COVID-19 patients.

Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan has expected a spike in COVID-19 cases in the next one to two weeks, saying it is necessary to tighten measures in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

As of Saturday, Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased by 272 cases to 6,223 while death toll went up by 8 to 78. Enditem