BEIRUT - Lebanon recorded its highest daily number of deaths and new infections from coronavirus on Tuesday, as the country licked its wounds from the catastrophic blast at Beirut's port a week ago.
Seven people died of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said, and 309 new cases were recorded over the same period.
That brought the total number of infections to 7,121, and deaths to 87, since the start of the country's outbreak.
While the daily figures are still relatively low compared to some countries, they have risen in recent days, straining health facilities already overwhelmed with the influx of injured from the August 4 explosion.
Health officials have warned that the chaos caused by the blast that killed 171 people and injured 6,000 risked leading to a spike in infections.
According to an estimate by the Beirut governor, up to 300,000 people were made temporarily homeless by the explosion that ravaged swathes of the capital.
At least 15 medical facilities, including three major hospitals, sustained structural damage in the blast, according to the UN.
The collective trauma that Lebanon's worst peacetime disaster inflicted on the country caused a temporary loosening of social distancing habits.
With the start of the school year just around the corner and the flu season coming soon after, the head of the main public hospital in the fight against coronavirus warned that the next few days would be critical.
"The events of the previous week have, understandably, shifted attention away from the pandemic," Firass Abiad said on social media.
But, he added, "we cannot afford to allow the virus to go unchecked."