Around 90 UN peacekeepers in Lebanon contract COVID-19.
Image Credit: Ali Dia/AFP
According to Agence France Presse (AFP), 90 UN peacekeepers in Lebanon contracted the coronavirus. Around 88 of the reported infections were from the same United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) national contingent. All the infected troops have been transferred to a secure facility where they are receiving treatment. To prevent a larger outbreak, UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said that they carried out ‘robust contact tracing and a through regime of testing and isolation.’
Since the August 4 Beirut explosion that wrecked havoc in the city, the number of coronavirus cases surged to 400-600 new cases a day. The explosion put an enormous strain to an already strained health system due to the coronavirus pandemic. Lebanon has received medical assistance from more than 20 European countries to fight coronavirus. Assistance has also been given by several other countries.
The nationalities of the troops infected has not been specified. A spokesman for the Irish Defense Forces said that all of its infected troops are ‘safe and well’. There are around 9,400 UNIFIL soldiers in Lebanon. Their function was initially to make sure that all Israeli forces withdraw from Southern Lebanon after the 1978 invasion by Israel. In 2006, UNIFIL extended its mandate in Lebanon, after a 34 day war between Israel and Hezbollah.