WHO Scrambles to Resupply Lebanon with Virus Aid after Blast
The World Health Organization is scrambling to deploy $1.7 million worth of personal protective equipment to Beirut after 17 containers filled with supplies for the COVID-19 response were destroyed in this week's massive explosion.
Dr. Rick Brennan, WHO's emergencies director for the eastern Mediterranean, expressed concerns that the coronavirus outbreak in Lebanon could now get worse in the aftermath of the blast.
He says the "massive extra burden of injured people" could cause the health system to be "overstretched" by the emergency and coronavirus responses.
Brennan said the "huge volume" of supplies from a regional WHO hub will be needed to replace lost COVID-19 gear like aprons, gloves, masks and respirators. They are expected to arrive via a "phased series of flights" over the next week - with the first coming in the next two to three days.
He noted concerns about the "debris" and particulate matter still in the air following Tuesday's deadly chemical explosion. Masks could be useful not just against the coronavirus but for people who have respiratory or heart disease.