First Confirmed Covid-19 Case in Lebanon Refugee Camp

A Palestinian woman from Syria is the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in a refugee camp in Lebanon, the Associated Press reports. She was taken to a government-run hospital in Beirut, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said.

Wavel camp, where the woman lived, is in the Bekaa Valley region of eastern Lebanon. It houses about 3,000 people, though the precise number is not known.

Relief workers worry about the virus spreading through refugee camps, which to this point have been spared large outbreaks. Keeping physical distance in the crowded spaces can be difficult, and adequate water and soap can be hard to acquire. Aid agencies have worked to increase access to water and soap during the coronavirus pandemic.

UN and medical staff are expanding Covid-19 testing in Wavel camp following the confirmed case, the AP reports.

Matias Meier is the Lebanon director for the International Rescue Committee, an organization that works with refugees.

Meier said in a statement that many refugees “are extremely concerned about how they are going to be able to [keep safe], given the conditions in which they live.”

An informal IRC survey among the refugee population in Lebanon found that nearly three-quarters of respondents lacked soap and other hygiene items.

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