No Coronavirus Infections Registered In Refugee Communities Of Lebanon's Baalbek - Mayor

BEIRUT (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 10th April, 2020) No coronavirus cases have so far been detected among some 60,000 Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in and around the Lebanese city of Baalbek, Mayor Fouad Ballouk told Sputnik on Friday.

Not far from the Syrian border, Baalbek and the surrounding Bekaa Valley have been a point of contact for many refugees fleeing violence and hardship in Syria.

"We are responsible for them [refugees]. If one of them becomes infected, then the inhabitants of the whole city will be at risk. Therefore, we will allocate funds for the municipality for preventive treatment," Ballouk said in a conversation with Sputnik.

Although Ballouk maintained that there are no cases of infection in the refugee communities in the city at large, he said that the municipality has allocated special wards, medical supplies and test kits for refugees in the public hospital.

Baalbek is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Lebanon, with its sprawling complex of Roman ruins larger than those in Syria's Palmyra attracting thousands of visitors daily. The site was closed in late February shortly after the first cases of coronavirus were detected in the country.

"There are no infections [in Baalbek] because no infected people have visited. But we still cannot control everyone who comes to the Syrians, we do not set up roadblocks on the roads and at the entrances to the camps," Ballouk said.

Lebanon currently counts nearly 600 cases of COVID-19, with 19 deaths as a result.

The Lebanese government declared a state of emergency in mid-March and suspended all travel in and out of the country, and imposed a stay-at-home order on all residents.