Apr 22, 2020 - World

Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon reports first coronavirus case

A photo of people disinfecting the refugee camp

Workers disinfect the Wavel camp for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley, April 22. Photo: -/AFP via Getty Images

A woman living in the only Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa region has tested positive for the coronavirus, AP reports, citing the United Nations.

Why it matters: She's the first person in a refugee camp in Lebanon, which hosts tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees, to contract the virus.

The big picture: Public health experts view a major coronavirus outbreak in a refugee camp as a worst-case scenario due to population density and stretched humanitarian supplies, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh reported last week.

Details: The Palestinian woman, who was displaced from Syria, has been taken to the Rafik Hariri Hospital in Beirut, AP reports. At least 3,000 other people currently live in the Wavel refugee camp.

  • 146 people in the camp were tested for the virus on Wednesday, Huda Samra, communications adviser for the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees, told AP. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
  • The agency is paying for all hospital and testing expenses, Samra said told AP.
  • Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan told reporters on Wednesday that refugee cases of the virus will be handled the same as cases contracted by Lebanese citizens, AP reports.

Background: Lebanon has reported 682 cases, 22 deaths and 130 recoveries from the coronavirus, per Johns Hopkins data.

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