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Lebanon back on lockdown days after deconfinement

The Lebanese government has imposed a four-day strict nationwide lockdown starting tonight, in response to a new spike of COVID-19 cases just after a week of deconfinement. According to Prime Minister Hassan Diab over 100 new confirmed cases have been recorded solely in the past four days, following the easing of lockdown measures in recent weeks, with shops reopening and curfew measures lifted.

The decision to return into confinement has been prompted by a string of newly confirmed coronavirus cases as a result of what officials attribute to a lack of gradual reopening of the country which now has a 870 total cases and rising.

“This government has made an important achievement in facing the challenge of the coronavirus epidemic,” Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced at the cabinet session yesterday. “Unfortunately, due to complacency in some areas, and then neglect and irresponsibility of some citizens, this achievement is threatened with collapse today.”

During this four-day lockdown, supermarkets will remain open as well as agricultural and imperative industrial sectors, according to Minister of Information Manal Abdel Samad, emphasizing that the Lebanese people must only leave their homes for “urgent needs.”

A dispersion of responsibility

The jump in COVID cases in Lebanon has also been partly attributed to expatriates returning to Lebanon on repatriation flights, as 25 citizens flying in from Lagos, Nigeria tested positive. The army also announced that 13 soldiers from the Military Court had tested positive for the coronavirus while still on duty.

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Published on 13 May 2020