Lebanon Tightens Covid-19 Restrictions As Infections Soar

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Beyrouth (AFP)

Lebanon on Monday stepped up measures relating to the novel coronaviruses by imposing a 24-hour curfew for an 11-day period and introducing new travel restrictions to stem an unprecedented spike in infections.

The latest measures came as officials and health professionals warned hospitals were quickly running out of beds, leaving it very difficult to seek treatment, even though a lockdown has been in place since January 7. .

The new measures will be applied from Thursday to January 25, according to a statement released after a meeting of the Supreme Defense Council, the country’s highest security body.

All citizens should stay at home with a few exceptions, including medical professionals, journalists, those working in the food business and other essential workers, the statement said.

Land and sea borders will be closed to all travelers except those with a valid transit visa and passenger traffic at Beirut airport will be reduced to 20% of arrivals in January 2020.

Travelers arriving from Baghdad, Istanbul, Adana, Cairo and Addis Ababa will be required to self-quarantine at a hotel for seven days at their own expense.

They have to take a PCR test when they arrive in Lebanon, and then again six days later.

Lebanon, a country of more than six million inhabitants, has recorded 219,296 cases of Covid-19, including 1,606 deaths, since February.

In the past seven days, it has seen a 70% increase in infections, placing it among countries currently experiencing one of the highest virus spikes in the world, according to AFP data.

It trails behind Portugal, which saw a 73% increase, Nigeria, with a 77% increase, and Ireland, with a 190% increase.

Firas Abiad, the head of Lebanon’s main coronavirus hospital, said the country recorded more than 30,000 new cases between January 3 and 10, reaching a peak of 5,440 new infections on Friday.

Overwhelmed by the influx of new patients, hospitals have had to fire people, sending many families in a desperate search for hospital beds.

This weekend, a hospital said it was treating patients in cars because it had run out of capacity.

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