BEIRUT: Lebanon registered 52 more coronavirus-related deaths and 3,202 new cases Friday as the country awaited more vaccine shipments.
The cases were detected among 20,793 tests, with only eight cases found among travelers arriving at Beirut International Airport. The positivity rate throughout the last two weeks stood at 17.7 percent.
The total number of cases since coronavirus was first detected in Lebanon on Feb. 21, 2020, now stands at 390,053, according to the Health Ministry. The total number of fatalities has risen to 4,971.
The data provided by the Health Ministry also shows that 2,190 patients are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 and related complications, with 912 in the ICU and 291 on ventilators.
Meanwhile, Lebanon National Operations Room reported that 5,515 people were inoculated over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of people vaccinated to 71,631 since the start of the campaign on Feb. 14.
An official told The Daily Star that the Health Ministry would start sending out appointments for the administration of the second dose of the vaccine this weekend, as the second jab must be given 21 days after the initial dose. Lebanon launched the national inoculation drive around three weeks ago.
Lebanon is expected to receive around 33,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Saturday. According to caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan, shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are slated to arrive on March 15 containing 92,000 jabs. Another 192,000 doses will arrive between mid-March and mid-April.
Meanwhile the Tourism Ministry issued a statement calling for the reopening of restaurants and cafes with a 50 percent intake capacity in addition to adhering to virus prevention measures. The government intends to take this step on March 22, in accordance to its plan to gradually reopen the country. However as retailers were allowed to reopen earlier than the original date, the hospitality sector could be next to reopen earlier than anticipated as the economic crisis drags on.
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