On Saturday morning, March 21st, the Ministry of Public Health released its daily coronavirus (COVID-19) report, announcing the total of positive cases to be 187 in Lebanon.
Several hours later, the ministry issued a follow-up report, adding 19 new cases to the total.
As the new report explained, a new set of private hospitals has recently joined the list of university hospital laboratories accredited by the Health Ministry. And these hospitals “had not sent their results when the [morning] statement was issued.”
Now that these new numbers were taken into account, “the final total of confirmed cases as of March 21st, 2020 has become 206 cases.”
The afternoon report also pointed out that there are “24 new cases from private laboratories outside the accredited university laboratories, the results of which will be rechecked at Rafik Hariri University Hospital.”
Taking the update into consideration, Lebanon has recorded a total of 43 COVID-19-positive cases in the past 24 hours. As the statement mentioned, this unprecedented number in Lebanon indicates “the start of the diffusion stage.”
This is the 4th phase of the epidemic, in which the virus starts to spread more widely across the country.
In light of this serious development, the Ministry of Public Health is stressing the importance of “the application of all preventive measures, especially adherence to complete home quarantine.”
According to the ministry, home quarantine has become “an individual and societal moral responsibility that is incumbent on every citizen.”
As such, the ministry warned that “any complacency in its application will expose its owner to legal and criminal prosecution.”
In turn, Health Minister Hamad Hasan took to Twitter to concisely share his personal perspective on the development.
“When the containment plan was praised,” he said, “we slipped into the diffusion stage and registered 81 cases within 48 hours.”
Considering 8 COVID-19 patients have fully recovered and 4 have passed away, the actual total of positive cases is 194 at this point.