Health Minister Firass Abiad received Monday a donation to Lebanon of vaccines, hospital beds and ventilators from China, the state-run National News Agency reported. It is the second shipment of medical supplies donated by China since the onset of Lebanon’s economic crisis in 2019 and the global COVID-19 pandemic just months later.
Here’s what we know:
• According to the NNA, China’s envoy to Lebanon Wang Kejian oversaw the donation to the Health Ministry of 300,000 Sinopharm vaccines, 100 hospital beds and 100 ventilators.
• Abiad welcomed the donation, noting that the supplies arrived just as Lebanon is preparing “for what seems like a new wave of COVID-19.” The minister also highlighted the risk posed by new variants of the coronavirus.
• Lebanon’s capacity to face another COVID-19 wave is even more limited than it was this time last year, as the country’s financial crisis has precipitated a health crisis characterized by medical supply shortages and a high level of emigration among health professionals. According to the World Health Organization, 40 percent of Lebanon’s doctors and 30 percent of its nurses have left since October 2019 as the country grapples with its economic collapse
. • The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 has been on rise this past week. Daily case numbers have exceeded 1,300 for the past four days, while the number of people in ICU has exceeded 200, reaching 214 on Saturday.