Over half of Lebanese travelers who arrived in Beirut last week infected with the coronavirus came from Turkey, according to new data from the Lebanese Health Ministry.
Out of the 66 travelers who entered Lebanon last week with COVID-19 infections, 41 of them had arrived from Turkey, according to Lebanese media outlet The Daily Star, citing ministry data.
Iraq and Egypt were mentioned as other countries that contributed to the amount of inbound infections.
Lebanon and Turkey are currently undergoing second coronavirus waves. Lebanon announced on Monday a gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions, while Turkey imposed new curfews on weekdays and full lockdowns over weekends.
While Lebanon mandates travelers from Turkey hold a negative PCR test result before boarding the incoming flight, Lebanese health officials told The Daily Star that they believe Turkey is failing to properly conduct COVID-19 tests.
Health Minister for Beirut’s Rafic Hariri Airport Hasan Mallah said “that they believe PCR tests taken before boarding in Turkey are not being done properly and are ‘unreliable,’” according to The Daily Star.
Lebanon’s neighbor Israel has also reported that Turkey is the country with the highest coronavirus infection rate among its travelers.
Israeli health ministry data found that one in five of the almost 1,000 Israelis who traveled to Turkey last month returned home with coronavirus.
Lebanon, with its population of about 6.8 million people, reported 1,842 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with 22 deaths.
The country’s health minister warned on Thursday that the country does not have enough hospital beds to cope with the surge in infections.