BEIRUT: Lebanon will go under lockdown Thursday to curb the spread of coronavirus, as cases surge and community transmissions rise.
The lockdown will last from Thursday morning until Monday night, according to the Interior Ministry. Essential establishments such as pharmacies and supermarkets will remain open, so will military and security institutions in addition to the health sector. All other private and financial institutions are to close down.
Public sector institutions and municipalities are to open during certain hours.
Delivery services will only be allowed to operate between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
There is no curfew and no car license plates rules in place during this lockdown, which is the second time Lebanon closes down to prevent the spread of the virus, the first being in mid-March till beginning of May.
The country will partially re-open Tuesday and Wednesday, with restaurants and public transportation vehicles allowed to take in customers at 50 percent capacity.
The lockdown will go into force again on Aug. 6-10, the Interior Ministry said.
This lockdown will allow authorities to regulate the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s health advisor Petra Khoury told local TV channel LBCI Wednesday.
Many laboratories have PCR tests piled up and will be able to clear the backlog of tests during the lockdown as well, Khoury said.
“Closing down the country is not the solution, but it occurs when we feel we have lost controls over the situation,” she said.
Lebanon has so far registered 4,020 COVID-19 cases and 54 deaths since the virus was first detected in late February.
Daily cases started to sharply increase in July, and the high number of cases was a result of the community spread of the disease and not just large clusters in certain areas that were easy to control.
Rafik Hariri International Airport also reopened at the beginning of July, however expat returns did not greatly affect the number of positive results, except for those who infected large groups of people before quarantining.
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