Home World Weeks after Beirut blast, Lebanon in lockdown as virus cases surge

Weeks after Beirut blast, Lebanon in lockdown as virus cases surge

Barely two weeks after a massive explosion in a warehouse at the port city of Beirut, Lebanon has begun its  14-day lockdown as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country continue to rise.

As of publishing, Lebanon has recorded 10,950 cases and 113 deaths and the health ministry warns that the country may record 5,000 new cases in the next two weeks.

Among the lockdown measures announced by the government include the closure of tourist areas and malls.

Health workers, army, diplomats, press and the food sectors have however been exempted from the lockdown restrictions.

On Thursday, Lebanon recorded 605 new cases and 4 deaths, doubling the caseload since the blast leading the government to resort to a lockdown.

A dusk to dawn curfew has also been imposed from 6 pm to 6 am. Health Minister Hamad Hassan has called for “cooperation and solidarity” from citizens as the Middle East country grapples with the coronavirus and devastation from the blast.

On August 4, there was a big blast in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital which killed at least 180 people. The blast dimmed hopes for the country’s economy which was basically on its knees.

The nation’s response to the novel coronavirus was drawn back amid reports that some local hospitals were under pressure with casualties from the blast.

World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Lebanon Iman Shankiti said the situation is quite worrying.

“It took us six months since February to reach 5,000 cases. But unfortunately in the last two weeks, we have doubled the figure – that’s quite worrying,” Shankiti said.

Health minister Hamad Hassan said the country’s efforts have been drawn to “square one”.

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