Baby girl diagnosed with coronavirus dies in Lebanon

The infant was admitted to the hospital 25 days after her birth.

al-monitor People wear face masks as they stand at the entrance of Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon, March 10, 2020.  Photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir.

Jun 24, 2020

A baby infected with the novel coronavirus has died at a hospital in Beirut, the National News Agency reported today, in what is thought to be the first instance of an infant death from COVID-19 in Lebanon. 

The baby girl was admitted to Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut 25 days after her birth, where she was confirmed to have COVID-19 and a congenital heart defect. A statement from the hospital said she was experiencing “acute inflammations” in her lungs due to the coronavirus and that a team of specialists was sent from the Hezbollah-run Al-Rasoul Al-Azam Hospital to perform surgery on her heart. 

The United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, described her death as “appalling news.”

“This tragedy reminds us that COVID-19 is not over,” UNICEF in Lebanon tweeted. 

Lebanon reported 22 new infections today, bringing its total number of cases nationwide to 1,644. The baby’s death brought the death toll to 33, health officials said. 

“Feeling sad. May her soul Rest In Peace. Our thoughts are with her family,” tweeted Firass Abiad, director of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, which is the main hospital treating the coronavirus in Lebanon. 

“Hospitals naturally have a large number of staff, patients and visitors, all in contact with each other in a confined space. This facilitates virus spread,” Abiad said. “More unidentified cases in the community puts hospitals and patients at risk.”

The United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said Tuesday that the virus exists inside Lebanon’s camps for Palestinians but “no longer poses a threat.”