Lebanese minister says COVID cases rising, beds won't suffice

On Wednesday 1,842 COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths had been recorded

  
Lebanon's Health Minister Hamad Hassan speaks to a passenger wearing protective gear upon his arrival at Beirut international airport on its re-opening day following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Beirut, Lebanon July 1, 2020.

Lebanon's Health Minister Hamad Hassan speaks to a passenger wearing protective gear upon his arrival at Beirut international airport on its re-opening day following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Beirut, Lebanon July 1, 2020.

REUTERS/Aziz Taher

BEIRUT - Lebanon will not have enough hospital beds to cope with increasing COVID-19 cases, the health minister in the caretaker government warned on Thursday, saying compliance with a two-week lockdown that ended this week had been patchy.

In a Tweet, Hamad Hassan said cases were on the rise and although more hospital beds had been added, these would not be enough.

Intensive care units were at critical capacity when Lebanon ordered the lockdown and caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab had warned the shutdown may be extended if people did not comply.

The health ministry said on Wednesday 1,842 COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths had been recorded in the past 24 hours. Recorded deaths due to COVID-19 total 1,055 in the country of 6 million, where healthcare is deteriorating. 

On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lebanon is in the throes of a major financial and economic crisis and still grappling with the aftermath of the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut port.

(Writing by Tom Perry; editing by Philippa Fletcher) ((thomas.perry@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: thomas.perry.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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