Lebanon + 4 more

COVID-19 response – Lebanon bi-monthly situation report (29 May 2020 )

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This report is prepared by OCHA, on behalf of and in collaboration with UN agencies and partners involved in COVID-19 response efforts in Lebanon. The report covers the period from 13 to 26 May 2020.

Situation

• An additional 270 people have been confirmed as infected with the COVID-19 during the reporting period from 13 to 26 May. This brings the total number of reported cases to 1,140, of whom 59 per cent are male and 41 per cent female since 21 February 2020 (as of 26 May 2020). This includes 68 healthcare workers mostly working in institutions dealing with the COVID-19 response, and 26 deaths, of which 21 (over 80 per cent) are male. Lebanon witnessed an increase in number of reported cases in May. This could be due to the expansion in the national testing strategy, and the increase in testing and detection capacity. Further, around 35 per cent of confirmed cases were repatriated Lebanese.

• An estimated 9,520 Lebanese expatriates stranded abroad returned to Lebanon in the third phase of repatriation between 14 to 24 May. Of those tested in the airport, 69 people were positive.

• Confirmed cases have been traced with limited local transmission and Lebanon is still in phase 3 of the COVID-19 outbreak.

• Three Palestine refugees living in Saida were confirmed as positive with COVID-19 on 21 May and are currently under home isolation, bringing the number of infected Palestine refugees to ten. All previously confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wavel camp have now recovered. Further, there are 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Syrian refugees in Majdal Anjar, Bekaa governorate, who live outside informal settlements and are currently under home isolation. A Syrian refugee living in northern Lebanon who was confirmed as infected in mid-April is now fully recovered. Additionally, 74 Bangladeshi and Syrian migrant workers living in two buildings in Beirut were tested positive, 42 of whom are symptomatic and are receiving treatment in Rafiq Hariri University Hospital (RHUH), while the others are under home isolation in Ras El Nabeh. Further, 83 migrants living in the same buildings, who tested negative, are quarantined in two designated hotels (as quarantine sites) in Beirut.

• On 22 May, the Cabinet extended the national lockdown until 7 June for the fifth time, with the curfew remaining at 19.00-05.00. After a four-day full lockdown that ended on 18 May, the Government decided to partially re-open the country with public, industrial and commercial institutions, as well as associations and restaurants, open during approved working hours based on the five-phase plan endorsed by the cabinet on 24 April.

Highlights

• With the support of the UN and its partners, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) continued to conduct massive testing. The automatic extractor machine for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in RHUH is now operationalized and has increased the hospital’s testing capacity to 800 tests per day, and 55,000 tests were provided to the MoPH and RHUH, on top of 14,000 tests procured in March (the target is 100,000 tests).

• After the cluster of cases among migrant workers was confirmed in Ras El Nabeh, the UN and its partners are providing support to the affected migrant community, including disinfecting various entities, including buildings and shops in the neighbourhood, conducting awareness sessions, and providing guidance and equipment, as well as WASH and health support to migrants who tested negative and are currently under quarantine in two designated hotels in Beirut.

• In addition to the national rapid response team (RRT) led by the MoPH, the UN established and trained RRT teams to response to detected clusters of COVID-19, specifically in informal settlements and collective shelters.

• The COVID-19 related lockdown and implementation of restrictive measures is further straining already dire socioeconomic conditions. The UN is currently procuring in-kind food parcels to be distributed to 50,000 Lebanese families as part of its emergency food assistance, which should be available for distribution in June.

• In preparation of returning to workplaces, the UN and its partners are conducting awareness sessions on precautionary measure at workplace to ensure a safe return to the office.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.