Lebanon has started a new two-week lockdown after coronavirus infections crossed the 100,000 mark in a country where hospital capacity has become saturated, AFP reports.
The capital’s roads were largely empty and police checkpoints had been set up at several locations, while the seaside promenade, often thronging on weekends, was deserted. The airport, however, remains open, as do essential businesses.
Under the measures announced, only cars with certain number plates were allowed on the roads. A night-time curfew is to come into force from 5pm
Lebanon, with a population of around 6 million, has been recording some 11,000 coronavirus infections on average each week, the health ministry said on Thursday.
The number of coronavirus cases surged following the explosion at Beirut’s port on 4 August which killed more than 200 people, and overwhelmed hospitals with 6,500 wounded.
The new restrictions are set to last until 30 November 30 but the authorities have said they could be extended, as they fear the health system would not be able to cope with many more cases needing intensive care.
“The situation is critical and getting worse,” Said al-Asmar, a pulmonologist at the main public hospital in Beirut dealing with Covid-19 cases, warned on Friday.
Sometimes, “patients need intensive care, but we have to leave them in accident and emergency,” the doctor at the Rafik Hariri Hospital told AFP.