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COVID-19

Health Minister says ability to open more hospital beds will weigh on any lockdown decision

Health Minister Firass Abiad on Friday commented on the growing number of COVID-19 numbers in Lebanon, saying that a lockdown was not recommended for the time being and that the ability of hospitals to open more beds and the severity of virus cases will “dictate the next steps.”

Health Minister says ability to open more hospital beds will weigh on any lockdown decision

Firass Abiad, at the end of July 2021, a few weeks before his appointment as Minister of Health in the government of Najib Mikati. (Credit: AFP Photo)

BEIRUT— Health Minister Firass Abiad on Friday commented on the growing number of COVID-19 numbers in Lebanon, saying that a lockdown was not recommended for the time being and that the ability of hospitals to open more beds and the severity of virus cases will “dictate the next steps.”

Here’s what we know:

    • In a series of tweets, Abiad wrote, “For now, a lockdown was discussed but not recommended yet. The ability to open more hospital beds, and the severity of future cases will dictate the next step.”

    • "More than 100 ICU beds (30% of previous capacity) were made available in the past two weeks. More will be added this week," Abiad also wrote.

    • “Next week, there will be an update on the situation of medications and supplies, and hospitalization. It is not easy to work in a limited resources environment,” he added.

    • The health minister wrote that while the number of COVID-1 patients in critical condition continues to rise in Lebanon, this increase has been at a “much lower rate.”

    • Abiad noted that in South Africa, which recently underwent a wave of COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant of the virus, “less patients required hospitalization than previous waves with other variants.” 

    • Lebanon on Friday registered 4,290 new COVID-19 cases, with 19.1% positivity rate for local PCR tests and 333 patients in ICUs. Case counts, positivity rates and ICU hospitalizations have steadily risen in past weeks. In the World Health Organization's latest update for Lebanon, published Thursday, the insitution said 75.9 percent of ICU beds in the country were occupied. 


BEIRUT— Health Minister Firass Abiad on Friday commented on the growing number of COVID-19 numbers in Lebanon, saying that a lockdown was not recommended for the time being and that the ability of hospitals to open more beds and the severity of virus cases will “dictate the next steps.”Here’s what we know:    • In a series of tweets, Abiad wrote, “For now, a lockdown was...