Ninety UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a spokesman for the UNIFIL force said on Sunday, the first reported cases of the illness.
The confirmed cases were transferred to a special UNIFIL facility equipped to deal with Covid-19 cases, UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said in a statement.
For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.
He said 88 of those infected belonged to the same contingent, but he did not specify the nationalities of the 90 peacekeepers.
“We have undertaken robust contact tracing, and applied a thorough regime of testing and isolation” to prevent a larger outbreak, he said.
Some 45 countries contribute peacekeepers to UNIFIL, which was set up in 1978 to patrol the border between Lebanon and Israel which are technically at war.
In August, the UN extended the peace mission’s mandate by one year but reduced the force’s troop capacity from 15,000 to 13,000.
Tenenti said that UNIFIL’s operations along the Lebanon-Israel border are not affected by the new virus cases.
The Mediterranean country has recorded a total of 23,669 Covid-19 cases, including 239 deaths since an outbreak began in February.
On Saturday, authorities announced 22 coronavirus cases at the Roumieh prison, the country’s largest detention center which has long been infamous for the poor conditions in some of its blocks, including overcrowding and harsh treatment.
Lebanon's Nabih Berri says his Hezbollah-allied Amal will not be part of next govtLebanon's parliamentary speaker said his group opposed the way the prime minister-designate was forming a new cabinet and that it would not join on ... Middle East
Lebanon caretaker FM contracts coronavirus in string of misfortune over past monthLebanon’s caretaker Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe has tested positive for the coronavirus, a statement from his office said Wednesday, giving the ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: UN adopts COVID-19 response resolution, US votes againstThe United States was supported only by Israel on Friday in a vote against a UN resolution for a “comprehensive and coordinated response” to the Covid ... Coronavirus