Covid-19 cases in Beirut are climbing after the devastating explosion there killed nearly 200 people
- Lebanon's health minister called for a two-week lockdown in the country after it registered a record number of coronavirus cases, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- The country recorded 439 new cases.
- The rise in cases comes two weeks after at least 178 people were killed and 6,000 more were injured when 2,750 tons of high-density ammonium nitrate exploded in the city.
- Hospitals were destroyed in the blast, and many are already at capacity treating the wounded.
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Lebanon's health minister called for a two-week lockdown in the country after it registered a record number of coronavirus cases, almost two weeks after an explosion killed almost 200 people and injured several thousand in Beirut, The Wall Street Journal reported.
On Monday, the country registered a record 439 cases. However, health facilities in the country's capital Beirut are overburdened and in some cases damaged after the blast.
"We declare today a state of general alert and we need a brave decision to close (the country) for two weeks," Hamad Hassan told Voice of Lebanon radio, according to Reuters.
Lebanon, which has a population of 6.8 million has recorded 9,337 cases with 105 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
At least 178 people were killed and 6,000 more were injured when 2,750 tons of high-density ammonium nitrate exploded in the city last Tuesday. The explosion occurred as the country was reeling from the worst economic crisis in decades with millions on the brink of poverty, Business Insider previously reported.
The explosion destroyed homes, buildings, and hospitals, some of which had to treat patients outside or send them to other facilities to receive care.
The World Health Organization said last week that almost half of the 55 medical centers in Beirut were out of service because of the blast, Reuters reported.
Hospitals like St. George Hospital were so severely damaged they had to shut down and send patients to other facilities, Business Insider previously reported.
The Journal reported that St. George's is still closed despite being built so it could remain functional during wartime, with underground operating rooms, X-ray machines, and an underground pharmacy.
The hospital's medical director Dr. Alexander Nehme told The Journal that it would take a year to the hospital, which has 330-bed up and running again and that it would cost around $30 million.
According to WHO, the blast reduced 500 beds from hospital capacity in Beirut.
The Journal reported on the night of the explosion around a dozen coronavirus patients were so panicked, they fled their ward and mingled with other patients, and those wounded from the explosion in one hospital that was damaged.
"The place to retake control of the virus is in society — at the level of individual and collective behavior — and at the moment I'm not sure how we are going to influence that," Firass Abiad, the manager of Rafik Hariri University Hospital told The Journal.
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