Lebanon orders 4-day lockdown as infections spike
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Lebanon on Tuesday ordered a four-day-long lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus after recording an uptick in infections in recent days amid eased restrictions.
The "total lockdown" -- which will start at 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Wednesday and end at 5:00 am (0200 GMT) on Monday -- excludes the health, agriculture, food and manufacturing industries, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said after a cabinet meeting.
But "citizens should stay home and avoid going out except for urgent cases," she told journalists.
Lebanon has officially announced 870 cases of COVID-19, including 26 deaths.
Last month the crisis-hit country started to slowly emerge from a weeks-long lockdown that has aggravated its worst economic crisis since 1975-1990 civil.
Restaurants and cafes have reopened at 30 per cent capacity, mosques have resumed prayers, and many people are back at work.
But "the rate at which the coronavirus is spreading from one person to the other has accelerated in our community in the past three days," Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Tuesday, explaining why his government is tightening lockdown measures.
He said the country has recorded more than 100 new infections over four days, accusing some of "negligence and lack of responsibility" for violating government measures to stem the coronavirus.
The new virus cases include repatriated Lebanese nationals who have returned to the country en mass in recent weeks.
© 2020 AFP