On Wednesday, caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), shortly after 3 members of his office were confirmed to have contracted the virus.
The news also happened to come around a week after Hasan was photographed having lunch with a large group of people in Baalbek, on Wednesday, December 6th.
The meal followed an economic-health meeting in the city, attended by Hasan, alongside caretaker Economy Minister Raoul Nehme and Director-General of the Economy Ministry Mohamad Abou Haidar.
In a statement following the backlash that Nehme and Hasan – particularly the latter – faced after the lunch photo went viral on social media, Engineer Omar Solh, who hosted the meal “honoring the guests,” said the gathering included himself, the aforementioned officials, and household members.
The photo shows around 18 people at the table, and Solh’s statement included an apology to Minister Hasan for “violating what had been agreed upon,” which he said was to have no more than 5 people present at the table, including the 3 officials.
It’s unclear whether Hasan had already caught the virus at the time of last week’s gathering, but Minister Nehme has not commented on the development or undergone self-quarantine as of Thursday.