BEIRUT: The Lebanese government agreed on Tuesday to reinforce coronavirus lockdown measures after a spike in new cases threatened to overwhelm the crisis-hit country’s health care system.
Lebanon, a country of some 6 million people, has recorded a total of 3,879 cases of COVID-19, including 51 deaths.
Activists on social media shared a video of a Lebanese man in his car arguing with security forces after being fined for failing to wear a face mask.
Authorities decided to shut down the country again following an alarming increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Ministers on Tuesday were tested for the virus before taking part in ministerial session at the Presidential Palace.
President Michel Aoun called for “stricter application” of the lockdown order to limit the “negative repercussions on citizens and residents,” criticizing “people’s disregard for the preventive measures.”
Minister of Health Hamad Hassan said: “People are not abiding by the preventive measures, and people traveling to Lebanon are not respecting the isolation period.”
From Thursday, the country will shut down for five days with another five-day lockdown next week.
Bars, pubs, night clubs, malls, pools, gyms, churches, mosques and game centers will be closed, and all sports competitions, events and religious gatherings will be canceled. People over 65 will be told to stay at home and avoid social activity.
Security forces have arrested two Syrians who allegedly forged PCR tests showing a negative result for sale to Syrians wishing travel to their homeland.
Meanwhile, Iran reported 235 new deaths, a record toll for a single day in the Middle East’s hardest-hit country.
“We have lost 235 of our compatriots due to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours,” taking the overall toll to 16,147, said a health official.