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The New Arab Staff

Lebanon says first case of new coronavirus variant detected on flight from UK

An average of 5,000 people landed in Beirut between December 1-24 [Getty][Getty]

Date of publication: 26 December, 2020

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Caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan announced on Friday that one new registered coronavirus case on an incoming flight from Britain carried the new variant of the virus.
Lebanon announced on Friday it registered its first case of the new strain of Covid-19, which the health ministry said had come from Britain.

The person infected with the new variant was a Lebanese national, who arrived to Beirut from the UK, and was currently quarantining in Tripoli, the country's caretaker health minister said. His condition was reportedly stable.

"One case was registered on an incoming flight from Britain that arrived to Lebanon Monday, and we call those who were on the plane to be vigilant and take necessary precautions, and the ministry is following up with the infected case and those who were in contact," caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan said on Twitter. 

Passengers who were on the same flight have been asked to take a Covid-19 test and quarantine, Hasan said.

"We asked the passengers to quarantine for 10 days even if their PCR tests are negative," Hasan said, according to The Daily Star.

Several countries, including France, Spain, Japan, Denmark, Germany Australia and the Netherlands, have also reported cases of the new strain, which has sent jitters through already overstretched health services.

Health experts in Lebanon recently warned of the new variant, urging authorities to halt flights from the UK to avoid it reaching the country.

When asked about closing the airport, Hasan said that was a decision for the government to take and not the health ministry.

An average of 5,000 people landed in Beirut between December 1-24 for the holiday season, Hasan said, adding that the majority of the passengers were Lebanese nationals arriving from Turkey and Gulf countries.

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