Abiad Warns of Virus Spread, Says Hospitals’ Capacity 'Depleted'


Director general of the state-run Rafik Hariri University Hospital, Firas Abiad said on Monday the capacity of hospitals in Lebanon have “depleted” amid an uncontrollable surge in coronavirus cases, warning that the situation “is not well” at the virus level.

In video remarks to LBCI television, Abiad said: “ We expect more pressure in the coming days and weeks as the new strain is rapidly spreading and could increase the number of infections if we do not correct the matter.”

“More than 100 people needed admission to the intensive case unit last week. We have to cut the spread of the virus to reduce the number of infections by imposing a total lockdown, wearing masks and social distancing,” he stressed.

Noting how people are mistaken to believe that young people do not retract the virus, he said: “An 11-year-old boy and another young male in his 20s are in the ICU unit because of coronavirus. The matter bears no leniency.”

Lebanon, which began a 25-day lockdown Thursday to curb a huge surge in Covid-19 cases, is inclined to toughen the measures further in light of the dire health situation.

The current lockdown is the third since the first case was reported in Lebanon in late February. It has shut down most businesses and limited traffic by imposing an odd-and-even license plate rule on alternating days. It has also reduced the number of flights at the country's only international airport.

A daily 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew has also been enforced.

Lebanon on Saturday registered a new staggering tally of 5,414 coronavirus cases while 5,440 cases were recorded on Friday.

The high tallies come in the wake of the holiday season, in which tens of thousands of visitors flew into the country to celebrate Christmas and New Year's.

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