Coronavirus: Lebanon to impose round-the-clock curfew as cases spike

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightReutersimage captionIn the past week, more than 30,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 and 117 have died

Lebanon will enforce an 11-day curfew, with hospitals struggling to cope with a spike in new coronavirus infections.

People will be forbidden from leaving their homes from 05:00 (03:00 GMT) on Thursday, with few exemptions. They will be unable to shop in supermarkets and will need to rely on deliveries.

The only airport will remain open, but the number of passengers will be cut.

The authorities say that without drastic action the country's fragile health system will be overwhelmed.

Compared to other countries, Lebanon had until now coped relatively well with the coronavirus.

Despite a rise in the number of new cases, the government relaxed restrictions ahead of Christmas and New Year, hoping to bolster the country's crumbling economy. Bars and nightclubs were allowed to open for the first time in months.

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Health officials said that the easing of restrictions had now led to a dramatic spike in infections.

Lebanon, which has a population of six million, has reported more than 222,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1,629 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

But in the past week alone, 30,250 people have tested positive and 117 have died, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

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