Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Lebanon returns to lockdown as virus instances spike

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Lebanon entered a three-week nationwide lockdown on Thursday, in what the federal government hopes will stave off a surge in infections and hospitalizations that would overwhelm a well being care system already below pressure.

The restrictions, which embody a curfew from 6:00 p.m. to five:00 a.m., will final by means of Feb. 1, caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan mentioned on Monday. Restaurants are closed for in-person eating, and faculties and universities should function remotely.

Under the brand new rules, visitors will likely be restricted by alternating the times on which odd- and even-numbered license plates are allowed on the highway. The Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut will function at a lowered capability.

The 25-day lockdown marks Lebanon’s third this yr. The small Mediterranean nation imposed a lockdown in March, throughout which residents and residents might go away their houses just for meals and necessities. In November, Lebanon applied a two-week lockdown as the provision of hospital beds waned and the caseload spiked.

Lebanon, with a inhabitants of some 6 million, has registered near 200,000 COVID-19 instances and greater than 1,500 deaths. The Health Ministry on Wednesday introduced a day by day file of 4,166 infections.

Hasan, the well being minister, mentioned Lebanon will obtain 2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by February — sufficient to immunize as much as 20% of the inhabitants. Last month, Hasan confirmed that Lebanon had detected the brand new coronavirus variant in a affected person who traveled to the nation from London on Dec. 21.

Health officers are warning the surge in new infections might overwhelm hospitals already low on beds. An official with the American University of Beirut Medical Center advised L’Orient Today on Wednesday that his hospital has reached full capability.

Lebanon is coping with its worst financial disaster in a long time and remains to be reeling from an explosion in Beirut this August that brought about billions of {dollars} in injury and left greater than half the town’s hospitals unable to operate.

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