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Tuesday, 01 December 2020

Lebanese official finds he has COVID-19 at lunch with France's Le Drian

Reuters , Friday 24 Jul 2020
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A senior Lebanese official said on Friday he had taken bad news of testing positive for COVID-19 during a lunch with visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

"I received a telephone call from the hospital saying the test was positive, so naturally I left the lunch and informed all those present," Hadi Hashem, head of the Lebanese foreign minister's office, told the local OTV broadcaster.

A spokesman for Le Brian, whose lunch with Lebanese officials on Thursday came during a trip urging reforms to the crisis-hit economy, had no immediate comment on the matter.

Speaking by video, Hashem told OTV he had taken a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test ahead of a planned trip to Denmark, but was now self-isolating at home until Monday before another test.

"The result was unexpected but the most important thing is that the virus level is low and not contagious," he said.

After Hashem's diagnosis, Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti and his political affairs director also underwent PCR tests, but their results came back negative, a health ministry source told Reuters.

Lebanon has recorded 3,258 infections and 43 deaths from the novel coronavirus since February.

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