Lebanon Records 605 Virus Cases, 4 Deaths on Lockdown Eve

Tahiyah Chmayssani poses for a picture at the Mediterranean Sea corniche in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. What would you say to someone if you wanted to convince them to wear a mask: I would say be concerned for your own safety before that of others," Not wear a mask?: "you don't care for yourself" (if you don't wear it). "you don't care for yourself" (if you don't wear it). (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Lebanon recorded 605 new coronavirus cases and four deaths over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Thursday evening.

In its daily statement, the Ministry said 597 of the cases were recorded among residents and eight among individuals coming from abroad.

Twenty-two of the cases were meanwhile recorded among medical workers.

According to the statement, 263 COVID patients were admitted into hospitals over the past 24 hours, among them 72 into intensive care units.

The new cases raise the country’s overall tally since February 21 to 10,952 — including 113 deaths and 3,050 recoveries.

The high number of cases comes on the eve of a two-week general lockdown and nighttime curfew aimed at curbing a spike in infections.

The new measures will come into effect on Friday morning but they would not affect the clean-up and aid effort following the devastating August 4 Beirut port blast.

A curfew will be imposed from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Malls will be closed and restaurants restricted to delivery and takeaway, with curtailed operating hours. Social gatherings will also be banned.

The airport will operate normally and ministries will be staffed at half capacity.

Lebanon was already seeing rising cases of the novel coronavirus before the Beirut blast but has reported a string of record tallies in recent weeks.

A previously planned lockdown was scrapped in the wake of the explosion, which flattened neighborhoods near the port and left thousands homeless.

Health Minister Hamad Hassan warned on Monday that hospitals were reaching maximum capacity to treat novel coronavirus patients after the Beirut blast overwhelmed health centers already stretched by the virus.

“Public and private hospitals in the capital in particular have a very limited capacity, whether in terms of beds in intensive care units or respirators,” he said.

“We are on the brink, we don’t have the luxury to take our time,” he warned.



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