The Philippines’ ambassador to Lebanon died of coronavirus Thursday, a statement said, one of only 16 recorded deaths in the country since the start of the pandemic.
The Philippines’ department of foreign affairs expressed its “deep sadness” at the passing of Bernardita Catalla, which it said was the result of “complications arising from COVID-19”.
Catalla had been very active in recent months organising the repatriation of some of the tens of thousands of Filipino domestic workers hoping to leave the country.
A severe currency crisis in Lebanon has had a major impact on foreign domestic workers, who no longer have dollars to send home and can be restricted in their freedom of movement by an archaic sponsorship system.
Catalla’s death and three other fatalities reported by the health authorities on Thursday brought to 16 the number of people confirmed to have died from the virus in Lebanon.
The official number of cases stood at 494.
Strict confinement guidelines have been issued by the Lebanese government, including a 7:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew that is followed with varying thoroughness depending on the city and neighbourhood.