A Lebanese Official Tested Positive For Coronavirus During Lunch With Le Drian

LBCI News | France Diplomatie

Lebanon’s Chief of Staff at the Foreign Ministry was having lunch with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian when he got a call informing him that he’s tested positive for the coronavirus.

Le Drian is on a two-day visit to Lebanon, where he met with senior officials in Baabda Palace, his Lebanese counterpart Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti, Patriarch Al-Rai, and more.

One can only imagine that there were many handshakes exchanged during the visit of the French envoy, which is aiming to urge Lebanon to start reforms as the only way out of its collapse.

On the bright side, Minister Hitti conducted a PCR test and his results were negative, according to Al-Jadeed.

As for the Chief of Staff at Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry, Hadi Hashem, he is asymptomatic and said that his infection is non-contagious.

Hashem was due to travel to Denmark, which is why he did the PCR test and was surprised by the result. It’s safe to say he will not be traveling now.

Other employees at Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry are all being tested and, at the time of writing, none others have been infected with the virus so far.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

In the north, the Tripoli Serail was forced to close down Friday after an employee also tested positive with the virus.

The said employee is from the town of Qalamoun, which is now entirely under lockdown due to an outbreak among its residents.

The outbreak is in full fledge in Lebanon. Health Minister Hamad Hassan warned that we are at a “dangerous turning point” with outbreaks of the virus in communities.

Accordingly, a renewal of restrictions and new ones are now implemented, effective Monday.

The spike in infections is deemed a result of the airport reopening on July 1st but also of many disregarding social distancing in their gatherings.

We have a dedicated coronavirus section where you can find the latest news/updates about the pandemic in Lebanon, inform yourself with WHO-verified resources, and track the number of cases in Lebanon in real-time. Click here.