Child wearing face mask in Lebanon after coronavirus gripped the country. Photo credit: Anadolu
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has urged Palestinian refugees to remain alert to any coronavirus symptoms and respect self-quarantine rules in order to avoid contamination.
Claudio Cordone, director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, addressed Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and announced “a state of emergency because of coronavirus.”
He said UNRWA is ready to help those who need testing or treatment at Rafik Hariri University Hospital.
Cordone called on Palestinian refugees to reach out to the Ministry of Public Health as soon as they catch coronavirus symptoms, including fever, coughing, and respiratory disorders.
UNRWA also said it will cover the expenses of all COVID-19 tests only for those who get transferred to hospital following instructions to that end by medics contacted via the helpline.
This week, Lebanese troops began patrolling city streets and major roads, setting up roadblocks and urging people to stay at home amid official warnings that the country is struggling to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
After the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 248 on Sunday, an increase of 18 on the previous day, Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi said: “The situation is worrying. We must save ourselves, our families and our country before it is too late.”
Army helicopters circled Beirut and other major cities, using loudspeakers to urge people to stay home.
Lebanon’s Ministry of Health said that people waiting on test results for the virus should commit to home quarantine.
Lebanese army and security forces, together with police, set up checkpoints on major and secondary roads to deter people from traveling. Troops are also keeping watch to prevent overcrowding in bakeries, pharmacies and grocery stores.