PCR tests administered in Lebanon in the past few days have shown a change in the genetic makeup of coronavirus (COVID-19), an official has revealed.
“50% of the tests during the past days showed the presence of a new type of virus, the danger of which is that it spreads faster,” MP Ali Al-Miqdad, a member of the Parliamentary Health Committee, told the National News Agency on Friday.
PCR tests conducted in two major laboratories in Lebanon showed a genetic change in the virus, Al-Miqdad said, adding that it is not yet known whether Lebanon is facing “a new type of virus or coronavirus has developed itself.”
The MP noted an increase in the infection rate among the youth, stressing that the public health situation in Lebanon “has reached the danger level that we have always warned of, as we now don’t find places for patients, even in hospital emergency rooms.”
This critical situation prompted a hospital in Beirut to exceptionally use its cafeteria as a space for treating COVID-19 patients while another hospital has been treating patients in their cars, as Lebanon entered a lockdown that includes a full-day curfew, on Thursday.
According to the Internal Security Forces, the public’s commitment to the lockdown has so far been nearly total – something MP Al-Miqdad said encourages optimism.
It’s worth noting that, in late December, Lebanon detected its first case of the new virus strain that had originated in the UK.
Several new mutations have since been recorded in different countries around the world, most notably Brazil, Japan, and South Africa.
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.
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