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Lebanon to build field hospital provided by Qatar

Workers load a plane as Qatar begins sending field hospitals and medical aid to Lebanon from the al-Udeid airbase on August 5, 2020 [KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images]
Workers load a plane as Qatar begins sending field hospitals and medical aid to Lebanon from the al-Udeid airbase on August 5, 2020 [KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images]

Lebanon will start preparing to build a field hospital provided by Qatar in the wake of the 4 August explosion, the961reports.

The plan was approved by the government and health ministry yesterday following a meeting in the municipal palace of Tripoli, Lebanon's northern capital.

City Major Riad Yamak, who presented the plans, confirmed the decision to reporters.

The hospital will be built by the Lebanese Army on a plot of land provided by a local businessman in the northern city of Tripoli.

The decision to build the hospital comes as Lebanon battles with soaring coronavirus cases after rules were relaxed over the festive period.

Tens of thousands of visitors flew into Lebanon during the Christmas and New Year's periods causing case numbers to rise, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Yesterday Lebanon reported 4,166 new infections, the highest single-day tally since the virus reached the country in late February last year.

Case numbers are expected to continue rising, according to Dr Firas Al-Abyad, the director of the Rafic Hariri University Hospital in Beirut.

READ: Maronite patriarch warns of 'complete collapse' in Lebanon

Al-Abyad was quoted by Arab News as saying: "For the first time since the virus began spreading, more than 30 per cent of the PCR tests conducted at the hospital in one day returned positive results. This means that there will be higher numbers of cases in the coming weeks."

Health officials have also warned hospitals are running out of beds and medicines to treat patients, with intensive care units running at more than 90 per cent of capacity.

The dramatic spike in cases has prompted officials to impose a fifth national lockdown starting today.

The new lockdown is expected to last until 1 February at the earliest.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun earlier this week announced he had signed a contract with Pfizer for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines.

However, only 60,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in the country's 12 inoculation centres by mid-February, the Daily Star reported.

Head of Parliament's health committee Assem Araji told the Lebanese daily the small size of the first shipment was intended to give medical professionals time to learn how to handle the vaccine.

Araji insisted that by the end of July 2021 Lebanon should have received the 2.1 million doses stipulated in the Pfizer contract.

READ: Lebanese outrage over Soleimani statue unveiled in Beirut

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