Lebanon's virus death toll over 2,000 after another daily record

The total number of cases in Lebanon is 260,315

Health workers wearing face masks walk outside American University of Beirut's (AUB) medical centre, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beirut, Lebanon, January 11, 2021.

Health workers wearing face masks walk outside American University of Beirut's (AUB) medical centre, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beirut, Lebanon, January 11, 2021.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: Lebanon Tuesday registered 61 coronavirus deaths, a new record for the second day in a row, taking the death toll to over 2,000, while also registering 4,359 more cases, fueling calls to extend the country's total lockdown.

The cases were registered in 22,912 PCR tests, a Health Ministry report said. The positivity rate of the tests in the last two weeks stood at 20 percent.

Among the newly recorded cases, only 10 were detected among travelers arriving in Lebanon, according to the Health Ministry report, with the total number of cases since the virus was detected in the country in late February rising to 260,315.

Lebanon recorded then a record 53 deaths Monday. The overall number of coronavirus-related deaths since February stands at 2,020.

The Health Ministry said 2,176 patients were in hospital for COVID-19, with 799 in ICUs and 246 on ventilators.

Earlier in the day, the head of Lebanon's main coronavirus hospital called for the extension of the current total lockdown beyond Jan. 25, warning that the COVID-19 spread was out of control.

"Easing the lockdown cannot occur if the virus is spreading unchecked in the community," Dr. Firass Abiad, head of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, wrote in a tweet. "The infection is not under control."

President Michel Aoun called for a meeting for the Higher Defense Council Thursday that is expected to extend the shutdown by at least another week, officials said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri called for the respect of the COVID measures and for helping the underprivileged during the lockdown.

"Lebanon is on the verge of reaching first position in COVID-19 cases, which is extremely dangerous and concerns the Lebanese, the residents and the displaced without exception. This calls for a deep awareness of the health repercussions in case the ongoing violations and procedures do not rise to the level that the danger persists," he said in a statement.

"I call today on all the Lebanese, especially our beloved ones in the popular regions and neighborhoods, to stay home and to stop all forms of socializing and activities. We are facing a pandemic that does not have mercy on anyone, old or young, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, citizen or resident, Muslim or Christian."

He added that there was an ethical responsibility for "the prosperous people in all sects, regions, parties and economic sectors, to show solidarity and cooperate to help the deprived people and reduce the deprivation and hunger of the citizens."

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