BEIRUT: Lebanon’s coronavirus cases have plateaued, head of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital Dr. Firass Abiad said Friday, but cautioned that numbers could spike again with the start of the school year.
“The daily new cases have apparently plateaued at 500. An average of 5 deaths are reported daily. The number of hospitalized patients is still increasing but has not reached full bed capacity. Business activity has resumed,” Abiad said in a series of tweets.
He stressed that numbers are unlikely to decline without proper preventive measures.
“As universities and schools open, even in a hybrid format, there will be more contact in the community. The virus is still present, and adherence to preventive measures is selective and scant at best,” he said.
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.
“Hospitals have well increased their covid bed capacity in the past month. But now, their ability to continue to do so is limited,” Abiad said.
He warned that respiratory viruses thrive in colder seasons, referring to the upcoming winter months. “Soon, the flu season will start. Patients with similar covid symptoms will come to hospitals. All these patients will be competing for the same beds,” Abiad said.
Lebanon confirmed 560 coronavirus cases and seven deaths Thursday, raising the total number of registered cases so far to 22,437. Cases were detected among 9,154 PCR tests, bringing the positivity rate to 6.1 percent, the Health Ministry recorded.