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Lebanon’s Public Works Minister Tests Positive for COVID-19

Lebanon’s Public Works Minister Tests Positive for COVID-19

Sunday, 18 October, 2020 - 14:00
A view of a dark street during a power cut in Beirut, Lebanon July 3, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/Files

Michel Najjar, the Public Works and Transport Minister in Lebanon’s caretaker government, said Sunday he was infected with the coronavirus.


The minister said he would continue to carry out his duties from isolation, according to the National News Agency.


Lebanon is struggling to contain an escalating infection rate since August. The country of just over 5 million has recorded over 61,000 infections that killed over 500 people.


The surge is testing Lebanon’s already flailing health care system. A massive explosion in Beirut’s port on Aug. 4 that killed over 190 people further undermined the health sector and deepened an economic meltdown.


The government of Hassan Diab resigned in the wake of the blast but continues in a caretaker capacity.


Authorities have put more than a hundred villages and towns under lockdown. But the caretaker Health Minister, Hamad Hassan, said in remarks published Sunday that the localized lockdowns have failed, urging similar measures in major cities.


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