Lebanon extends partial coronavirus lockdown despite no new cases

Lebanon extends partial coronavirus lockdown despite no new cases
Lebanon extended its partial lockdown for two weeks, while the health ministry reported no new coronavirus cases for a second consecutive day.
2 min read
05 May, 2020
Lebanon's partial lockdown has been in place since March 15. [AFP]
The Lebanese cabinet approved a two-week extension of the partial coronavirus lockdown, recommended by the Higher Defence Council, while no new local infections were confirmed on Tuesday.

Under the new extension, the easing of restrictions on businesses will continue as planned, while restaurants, hair salons and showrooms have already been allowed to re-open at partial capacity in the first stage of the phase out.

On Tuesday, Lebanon's health ministry said there were no new coronavirus cases among the local population for the second consecutive day. Total confirmed cases stood at 741 according to official numbers.

The Lebanese Higher Defence Council convened earlier to discuss the extension of the anti-virus 'general mobilization' until 24 May.

The extension was proposed by Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who claimed "citizens" were not properly adhering to the easing measures, as businesses allowed to reopen.

"This might reflect negatively on the spread of the virus," the premier said, warning of a potential "second wave" of the virus in Lebanon.

Arguing in favour of the extension, Diab said the 
general outcome of coronavirus measures to date have been "good," and called for more strict implementation to be carried out by security agencies.

Security agencies, including the Lebanese Army, were asked to crackdown on any violations of coronavirus measures.

While businesses are allowed to operate, strict health measures have been imposed on firms wanting to re-open which remain unfeasible for many SMEs in the country.

Read also: 'Starving is worse': Syrian refugees pushed to the edge of survival under Lebanon's lockdown

In comments to The New Arab's Arabic-language publication, the Syndicate of Restaurants, Cafes and Patisseries in Lebanon said the strict conditions – as well as the evaporation of hard currency – have prevented most firms from re-opening. 

"Only 20 percent of institutions have resumed their operations in Lebanon, mainly concentrated in Beirut and Mount Lebanon," Maya Bakhaazi Nun, Secretary General of the syndicate said.

Lebanon's partial lockdown has been in place since 15 March.

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