15 Syrian refugees in Lebanon test positive for COVID-19

At least 15 Syrian refugees living in the same building in east Lebanon have tested positive for COVID-19, the United Nations says, ahead of plans to screen thousands of refugees.

“There are 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Syrian refugees in Majdal Anjar,” a town in the Bekaa Valley, says Lisa Abou Khaled of UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency.

Lebanon has officially recorded 1,140 novel coronavirus cases, including 26 deaths.

Before the outbreak in Majdal Anjar, only one other Syrian refugee in Lebanon had tested positive for Covid-19, UNHCR says.

Among Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee population, at least six cases have been detected in a camp in the Bekaa Valley.

Although the coronavirus outbreak among Lebanon’s refugee population remains limited, aid groups are concerned that overcrowded settlements could make refugees especially vulnerable to the virus.

The new COVID-19 cases in Majdal Anjar are now in self-isolation, receiving food and disinfection kits from UNHCR, Abou Khaled says.