Lebanon extends total lockdown for 2 weeks amid increasing COVID-19 deaths

Caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced on Friday that Lebanon will extend the ongoing total lockdown for two additional weeks starting Feb. 8 amid the increasing number of deaths from COVID-19, the National News Agency reported.

However, the COVID-19 ministerial committee will allow banks, supermarkets and a few factories to operate under specific restrictions, and other sectors will be allowed to resume operations later on.

“We will continue to take strict measures to avoid high numbers of infections and deaths from the virus,” Diab said during a meeting of the COVID-19 ministerial committee.

Lebanon registered on Friday the highest 98 daily deaths from COVID-19 since the outbreak of the virus in the country, raising the death toll to 3,495, while the number of total infections went up by 3,071 to 315,340, according to the Health Ministry.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp has gone out of control amid lack of proper support by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) caused by the agency’s financial crisis, according to Elnashra website, an independent online newspaper.

The local news website quoted activists in the camp as saying that a state of emergency may have to be announced in the camp very soon.

Lebanon is expected to receive its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines by mid-February.

Lebanon has approved the import by the private sector of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. The Health Ministry is considering requests for the import of China’s Sinopharm vaccine.