Coronavirus: Lebanon hits 100,000 positive cases as country prepares for lockdown

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Lebanon’s coronavirus infections crossed the 100,000 mark on Thursday, as the country prepared to enter a new two-week lockdown in a country where hospital capacity has been saturated.

The health ministry said the number of people who have tested positive with Covid-19 had reached 100,703, including 775 deaths.

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Lebanon, with a population of around six million, is recording some 11,000 coronavirus infections on average each week, the ministry added in a statement Thursday.

In a bid to stem the pandemic that has taken its toll on an already fragile and battered health sector, the government has announced that a fresh two-week nationwide lockdown would start from dawn on Saturday.

“We’ve reached a stage of critical danger, as private and public hospitals don’t have the capacity to receive severe cases,” caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in a televised address on Tuesday.

He said the new lockdown, with limited exemptions, would last until November 30.

The interior ministry on Thursday said that during the lockdown a nighttime curfew would be imposed every day except Sundays, when all movement will be totally banned.

The number of coronavirus cases have surged in Lebanon following the monstrous blast at Beirut’s airport which killed more than 200 people, wounded at least 6,500 and devastated swathes of the capital.

Diab said the blast had led Lebanon to “lose control” over its Covid-19 outbreak, as hospitals were overwhelmed.

The World Health Organization said at the end of October that 88 percent of Lebanon’s 306 intensive care beds were occupied.

A first country-wide lockdown was imposed in March, but restrictions were gradually lifted, especially as summer beckoned people outdoors.

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