Lebanon records 703 COVID-19 cases, 22 deaths on eve of lockdown

A total of 534,388 cases have now been recorded, alongside 7,549 deaths, since the first case of the virus was detected in Lebanon in February 2020

  
A street vendor sells face masks used to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), along a street in Beirut, Lebanon December 15, 2020.

A street vendor sells face masks used to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), along a street in Beirut, Lebanon December 15, 2020.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: Over the last 24 hours, a further 703 coronavirus cases and 22 deaths were recorded in Lebanon, on the eve of a two-day lockdown over the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the Health Ministry announced Wednesday.

The cases were recorded out of 15,294 tests, with the average positivity rate, now at 7.3 percent, maintaining its decline. Among travellers arriving from abroad, 16 cases were found.

A total of 534,388 cases have now been recorded, alongside 7,549 deaths, since the first case of the virus was detected in Lebanon in February 2020, according to Health Ministry figures.

The ministry’s report also detailed that 11,499 first-dose jabs of COVID-19 vaccines and 333 second-dose jabs had been administered in the last 24 hours, bringing the totals to 360,914 first-stage and 190,109 second-stage jabs administered since the campaign began on Feb. 14.

Despite the continuing decline in new cases, a strict lockdown will be imposed from 5 a.m. Thursday until 5 a.m. Saturday, in keeping with previous lockdown measures imposed over the Easter holidays to deter large social gatherings and risk spreading the virus.

All restaurants, cafes, gyms, and shops will close, with only essential services allowed to operate.

Citizens will be instructed to remain at home and to apply for authorization on the government’s e-platform Impact in order to go to the supermarket, bakeries, pharmacy or hospital.

The latest figures from WHO Lebanon show a steady decline in the average COVID-19 bed occupancy rate, with just 27.19 percent of regular hospital beds taken by coronavirus patients and 41.44 percent in intensive care units, compared to a peak of 82.84 percent of ICU wards filled with coronavirus patients six weeks ago.

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