UNIFIL forces on patrol in South Lebanon
UNIFIL forces on patrol in South Lebanon
Photo: Reuters
UNIFIL forces on patrol in South Lebanon

90 UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon contract COVID-19

UNIFIL says infections won’t affect force’s operations along the Israeli-Lebanese border; 88 of those with virus in the same unit; Lebanon sees spike in cases since Beirut port explosion

AFP |
Updated: 09.13.20 , 23:00
Ninety UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a spokesman for the UNIFIL force said on Sunday.
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  • 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.
    UNIFIL forces on patrol in South LebanonUNIFIL forces on patrol in South Lebanon
    UNIFIL forces on patrol in South Lebanon
    (Photo: Reuters)
    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.
    UNIFIL forces in South LebanonUNIFIL forces in South Lebanon
    UNIFIL forces in South Lebanon
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Tenenti said that UNIFIL's operations along the Lebanon-Israel border are not affected by the new virus cases.
    Lebanon has seen a spike in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases since an August 4 explosion ripped through the Beirut port, killing more than 190 people and ravaging swathes of the capital.
    The small Mediterranean country has recorded a total of 23,669 Covid-19 cases, including 239 deaths since an outbreak began in February.
    First published: 22:56 , 09.13.20
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