Lebanon starts nationwide lockdown amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms and malls closed their doors on Saturday as Lebanon entered its first day of a two-week lockdown to restrict the spread of COVID-19.

Vehicles are permitted to drive on specific days based on their plate numbers. However, most of the streets in the capital city Beirut were empty, reported LBCI local TV channel.

Police was deployed in most areas of the country, issuing tickets for people who violate lockdown rules.

Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab urged people a day earlier to commit to lockdown measures while prioritizing people’s health over the economy.

“Lockdown is not the solution but it is an opportunity to raise the country’s health sector preparedness given the dramatic increase in coronavirus infections over the past weeks,” Diab said.

Lebanon’s number of COVID-19 infections surpassed 100,000 while the death toll is approaching 800.

The country has been fighting against COVID-19 since Feb. 21.