Lebanon to impose nationwide lockdown as virus infections surge

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Lebanon will impose a nationwide lockdown between Nov. 14 and 30 due to an alarming surge in the number of COVID-19 infections and to ease pressure on an overwhelmed health sector, an official said.

The Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Tuesday in Beirut after a National Defence Council meeting, chaired by Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that the country had reached a “very dangerous phase.

According to a council statement, most shops, restaurants and public facilities will close, while the airport and port will remain open.

Local media also reported that a 12-hour curfew from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be in place during the lockdown.

Many officials had opposed the decision, arguing it will deepen the country’s economic hardship. Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.

Coronavirus infections have increased in Lebanon since a massive explosion hit the Beirut port on Aug. 4. The blast killed more than 190 people and wounded some 6,000 others.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 95,355 people have now been infected with the coronavirus since it was first detected in the country in February. A total of 732 people have died due to virus complications.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned on Tuesday that food and financial aid are vital if Lebanon goes back into lockdown, as over 55 per cent of Lebanon’s more than six million population lives under the poverty line.

“The number of people living in extreme poverty has tripled from eight per cent in 2019 to 23 per cent in 2020,” HRW said. (dpa/NAN)

– Nov. 10, 2020 @ 17:09 GMT |

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