The UN Palestinian refugee agency Sunday confirmed four new COVID-19 deaths in camps in Lebanon, calling for vigilance in observing hygiene measures as infections rise across the country.
“During the past 24 hours, four deaths have been recorded among Palestine refugees” in Lebanon, UNRWA said in a statement.
This brings to eight the total number of Palestinian refugees who have died from the COVID-19 illness since Lebanon first recorded an outbreak of the virus in February.
Over 200,000 Palestinian refugees reside in Lebanon, the majority living below the poverty line while their right to work and own property is restricted, according to UNRWA.
The UN agency, which provides health and education services to the Palestinians, called for vigilance in observing measures to combat the spread of the virus in the densely populated camps.“If prevention is not adhered to, things may get out of control in the Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon,” the statement said.
A UNRWA spokesperson told AFP that particular concern focused on the largest, most-populous camp of Ain Al-Hilweh, near the southern city of Sidon.
Lebanon has seen a spike in coronavirus-related cases and deaths, including 397 new infections on Saturday alone.
That brought the total number of infections to 8,442 cases, including 97 deaths since the start of the outbreak in February.
A planned fresh lockdown was abandoned in the wake of a massive explosion that ripped through large parts of the capital Beirut on August 4.
The disaster sent thousands of people into the streets in the ensuing days, seeking medical attention, helping clean up and distribute aid and protesting in droves against the government, largely blamed for negligence that led to the explosion at the port.
The small Mediterranean country’s health services were already straining under the pandemic crisis before the blast, which killed nearly 200 people and injured at least 6,500 others.