Lebanon to reimpose strict measures after surge in coronavirus cases

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Lebanon is set to reimpose strict measures to limit the spread of coronavirus after a recent surge in cases and the death of the first doctor treating infected patients.

The new measures will begin on July 27, according to an official circular and recommendations from the country’s coronavirus task force.

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Initially, the measures will last a week and will include the complete closure of night clubs, indoor swimming pools, beach parties, cinemas, theaters, gyms, public markets and all outdoor and indoor children’s play areas.

All social gatherings will be banned, except weddings with a maximum capacity of 50 attendees in indoor spaces and 150 in outdoor areas.

Read more: Coronavirus: Lebanon's COVID-19 cases rise, dogs trained to sniff out infections

Cases and deaths have risen sharply since the country’s only airport opened in July, reaching 147 cases and three deaths on Friday alone.

In an interview with Associated Press earlier this week, Health Minister Hamad Hassan said that it was still “too early” to consider returning to increased lockdown measures, although he admitted Lebanon was at a “critical period” in its fight against the virus.

Separately, a Lebanese MP revealed he tested positive for coronavirus following his encounter with a Foreign Ministry official that had announced his positive test result last week.

On Friday, Hadi al-Hashem, Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry chief of cabinet, said he learned of his positive test result for COVID-19 during a lunch with visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Lebanon's defense minister and deputy prime minister, Zeina Akar, announced that her daughter had tested positive for coronavirus. Akar said she and the rest of her family were also tested, but results came back negative. “Our daughter is in quarantine, 100 percent” Akar tweeted. “We all hope that citizens will ... wear face masks and take protective measures,” she added.

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