BEIRUT: Lebanon’s coronavirus cases rose to 230 Saturday, after 67 new infections were confirmed in 24 hours, Prime Minister Diab declared in a televised address.
Health Minister Hamad Hasan said earlier in the day via twitter that Lebanon had entered the outbreak phase of coronavirus transmission, registering “81 cases within 48 hours.”
A second statement was issued from the Health Ministry Saturday afternoon confirming the rise in numbers.
Earlier Saturday, the ministry had issued a statement confirming 187 total cases, but a ministry source later confirmed that recorded infections had risen over 200.
“We’ve entered a bad situation. The numbers above are what we expected. There will be more cases announced today and even more tomorrow,” the source said.
It was also announced that former Minister Mohammad Safadi tested positive for COVID-19. A statement issued by former Minister Violette Safadi, said her husband was in “good condition.”
The head of the Parliamentary Health Committee Saturday called on the government to declare a state of emergency due to the lack of citizen’s commitment to safety measures. “Lebanese are not abiding by the home quarantine measures,” MP Assem Araji told local media.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian also called on citizens to stay home and refrain from gathering at mosques to prevent the spread of the disease.
“We call for unity through cooperation and solidarity to save the rest of Lebanon,” Derian said on the occasion of Islamic holiday Al-Isra’ wal al-Miraj.
Saturday’s numbers are the highest recorded in Lebanon over a 24-hour period since COVID-19 was first confirmed on Feb. 21. The virus had killed four people.
Lebanon’s government Sunday declared a state of “general mobilization,” effectively putting the country on lockdown until March 29, closing air, land and sea ports in the country.