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Lebanon Caretaker Health Minister Hospitalized with COVID-19

Lebanon Caretaker Health Minister Hospitalized with COVID-19

Thursday, 14 January, 2021 - 07:15
FILE - In this July 20, 2020 Lebanese Minister of Health Hamad Hassan, gives an interview to The Associated Press, in Beirut, Lebanon. AP

Lebanese caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan, who is one of the main people leading the fight against coronavirus in the country, has been infected with the coronavirus.

The St. Georges Hadath Hospital said in a statement Wednesday that Hassan is undergoing treatment, adding that he is in good conditions.

Lebanon's hospitals are running out of capacity to treat critically ill patients as COVID-19 infections surge after the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Hassan was widely criticized last week when a photo of him circulated having lunch with several other people on the same table during a visit to his hometown of Baalbek in northeast Lebanon.

Hassan said he wore a mask most of the time and that in accordance with rural traditions in Lebanon a person cannot reject an invitation for lunch.

An 11-day curfew began Thursday morning in the country, an attempt by the government to limit the spread of the virus. Lebanon, a nation of six million, has registered nearly 232,000 cases and 1,740 deaths.

The pandemic hit Lebanon as it was in the middle of a devastating financial crisis that has crashed the currency, paralyzed banks, and frozen savers out of their deposits.

Medical supplies have dwindled as dollars have grown scarce.

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