Lebanon reported its highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since the outbreak began in December 2019, with the health ministry reporting 4,774 new infections in a 24-hour period on Thursday.
The total number of confirmed cases in the country reached 204,699 as of January 7. Authorities also reported 16 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the death toll in the small Mediterranean country to 1553.
Lebanon began a 25-day nationwide lockdown on Thursday to limit the spread of the coronavirus as infections hit a new record with an overwhelmed health care sector.
The lockdown is the third in Lebanon since the first COVID-19 case was reported in late February. Most businesses are required to shut down traffic is limited by imposing an odd and even license plate rule on alternating days. The number of flights at the country’s only international airport has also been reduced due to the lockdown.
The new restrictions came after the holiday season that saw tens of thousands of visitors fly into the country to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
“The best way to limit the spread is to stay at home,” outgoing Health Minister Hamad Hassan told the local LBC TV station.