Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Gebran Bassil: Former Lebanese minister tests positive for Covid-19

Cases in the country have surged in recent weeks as officials warn the country is losing control of the situation

Gebran Bassil, a Lebanese politician and head of the Free Patriotic Movement, has contracted Covid-19 but his office says he is doing well. Reuters, file
Gebran Bassil, a Lebanese politician and head of the Free Patriotic Movement, has contracted Covid-19 but his office says he is doing well. Reuters, file

Lebanese former foreign minister, president of the Free Patriotic Movement and son-in-law of President Michel Aoun has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Sunday.

The statement from his office said Gebran Bassil will isolate until he recovers, adding that the infection level is still “low and acceptable.”

The announcement comes amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in Lebanon, with record numbers registered almost every day for the past week.

The Health Ministry confirmed 1,280 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the overall number of infections in Lebanon to 33,162.

The government has recorded 317 deaths from Covid-19 since the first case was reported in late February.

It was not clear when Mr Bassil, 50, last saw his father-in-law, the president.

Health Minister Hamad Hassan has recommended a total lockdown for two weeks to stem the rise in daily detected infections, but authorities will find it difficult to impose another lockdown amid an unprecedented economic collapse. A previous attempt to close restaurants, cafes and bars saw syndicates refusing to comply with the order.

The head of the Lebanese parliament’s health committee, Assem Araji, recently warned that Lebanon had “lost control” of coronavirus and was “heading towards herd immunity”.

The rise in cases in Lebanon began after a lockdown was eased and the country’s only international airport was reopened in early July. The surge continued after the massive August 4 explosion in Beirut’s port that killed 193 people, injured at least 6,500 and devastated much of the city.

The blast also overwhelmed Beirut’s hospitals and badly damaged two that had a key role in handling virus cases.

Updated: September 27, 2020 04:12 PM

THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email