Lebanon’s anti-coronavirus ministerial committee on Monday announced a general lockdown from Thursday, January 7 until February 1 with a 6pm-5am nighttime curfew.
Speaking after the committee’s meeting, caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan warned that the coronavirus situation has reached a very dangerous level in the country in terms of hospitals’ capacity.
He also said that those who breach the lockdown and safety measures will face legal prosecution.
Caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi for his part confirmed that the odd-even regime for the movement of vehicles according to their license plates will be implemented, noting that an official statement about the lockdown exceptions will be issued on Tuesday morning.
Restaurants will meanwhile be closed except for delivery services, media reports said.
Al-Jadeed TV meanwhile reported that factories, ministries, printing houses, banks and state administrations will be exempted from the shutdown and will be allowed to operate at certain capacities while medical and journalistic crews and the armed forces will be exempted from the nighttime curfew.
Below are the capacity levels allowed for some sectors according to al-Jadeed:
– Factories: 30%
– Ministries: 25%
– Printing houses: 30%
– Banks: 20%
– Public administrations: 25%
The authorities had eased measures in December but scenes of revelers thronging bars and clubs during the holiday season had left little doubt that fresh restrictions were on the way.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Lebanon has recorded more than 189,000 cases and around 1,500 deaths. A record 3,500 cases were reported on December 31.
Health professionals have warned that the latest surge in cases risked causing a major catastrophe across Lebanon, which is already struggling with the aftermath of a devastating August explosion and its worst ever economic crisis.
“Over the past three weeks, the occupancy rate of intensive care units has increased by 10 percent,” pushing the occupancy of hospital beds in Beirut to over 90 percent of capacity, Covid-19 taskforce head Petra Khoury said on Saturday.