BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon started a 25-day nationwide lockdown Thursday to restrict the unfold of the coronavirus as infections hit a brand new file within the tiny Mediterranean nation and sufferers overwhelm the well being care sector.
The lockdown is the third in Lebanon for the reason that first case was reported in late February. It closes most companies and limits visitors by imposing an odd and even license plate rule on alternating days. It additionally reduces the variety of flights on the nation’s solely worldwide airport.
As of Thursday, a every day 6 p.m. to five a.m. curfew takes impact that can final till Feb. 1.
On Wednesday, Lebanon broke its single-day file of recent coronavirus infections on the eve of the lockdown with 4,166 circumstances reported in 24 hours.
It got here after a vacation season during which tens of hundreds of tourists flying into the nation to rejoice Christmas and New 12 months’s. Lebanon additionally reported 21 new coronavirus deaths Wednesday, bringing the variety of complete coronavirus circumstances within the small Mediterranean nation to almost 200,000, with greater than 1,500 deaths.
“One of the best ways to restrict the unfold is to remain at residence,” outgoing Well being Minister Hamad Hassan informed the native LBC TV station.
In Beirut’s business Hamra district, many retailers have been closed Thursday morning as police patrols drove by to verify the lockdown was applied. Police checkpoints fined motorists who violated the lockdown orders.
First responders within the nation hit by a extreme financial disaster say they’ve been transporting almost 100 sufferers a day to hospitals that at the moment are reporting near-full occupancy in beds and intensive care items.
Lebanon noticed new infections start to extend through the summer season, following a large explosion in Beirut’s port in August that shook the town and its heath sector, killing over 200 folks and injuring 6,000. August’s numbers elevated by over 300% from July because of this, and so they have been climbing since.
The brand new lockdown comes as Lebanon was already scuffling with an unprecedented financial and monetary disaster that has triggered it to default on debt and despatched its native forex plunging, shedding 80% of its worth to the greenback.
The scarcity of laborious forex in Lebanon has severely curbed imports to the import-dependent nation, together with medication and medical provides. Many medicines are lacking at pharmacies because the disaster worsens.
The U.S. greenback was buying and selling on the black market Thursday at about 8,800 kilos, a 5% drop from final week and there are issues that the lockdown will additional hammer the financial system that the World Financial institution projected will contracted 19.2% in 2020 alone.
In Egypt, Coptic Orthodox Christians have been barred from attending Mass on Christmas Eve because the nation fights a surge in coronavirus circumstances.
The church canceled celebrations across the nation and allowed solely a restricted variety of clerics at Midnight Mass on the eve of Orthodox Christmas. Copts rejoice Christmas in keeping with the Julian calendar, that means it falls on Jan. 7.
Egypt has reported almost 145,000 confirmed coronavirus circumstances, together with almost 8,000 deaths. Nonetheless, the precise variety of COVID-19 circumstances in Egypt is considered far larger, largely as a consequence of restricted testing and uncounted sufferers handled at residence or in non-public hospitals.
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