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Coronavirus: Lebanon reimposes lockdown amid spike in infections

New lockdown coincides with the Eid al-Adha holiday when Muslims normally hold large gatherings
Lebanon shut places of worship, cinemas, bars, nightclubs, sports events and popular markets after a sharp rise in infections (AFP/File photo)

Lebanon said it was reimposing coronavirus restrictions on Monday for the next two weeks, shutting places of worship, cinemas, bars, nightclubs, sports events and popular markets after a sharp rise in infections.

Officials said they were alarmed by a spike in cases in recent days, with at least 132 new infections and eight deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours. Lebanon has recorded just 51 deaths from the coronavirus since February.

"We have to go back a step back and work with determination as though the pandemic has now begun," Minister of Health Hamad Hassan said, as quoted in state media.

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"We have to work more seriously to avoid a medical humanitarian catastrophe."

Shops, private companies, banks and educational institutions would be permitted to open, but only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with a near-total lockdown in place from Thursday to Monday until 10 August.

This week's lockdown also coincides with the Eid al-Adha holiday, when Muslims normally hold large gatherings.

Beirut's airport, land border crossings with Syria and seaports would be kept open, as well as medical institutions, industrial and agricultural firms, and critical government functions.

Those arriving from high-risk countries would be held in quarantine for 48 hours until they received the results of a coronavirus test. Those arriving from other areas would be expected to quarantine at home.