Lebanon reinstating national stay-at-home order after spike in coronavirus infections

Catherine Garcia

Due to a spike in the number of reported coronavirus cases, Lebanon is reimposing a national stay-at-home order for four days, beginning Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The government announced the order on Tuesday afternoon. Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad said that during this temporary shutdown, the government will conduct more coronavirus testing and ramp up contact tracing. Residents have been told to steer clear of gatherings and go out only in case of an emergency.

Lebanon, home to five million people, has 870 confirmed coronavirus cases and 26 deaths. Earlier in the pandemic, the country enacted a national shutdown that saw most residents staying at home, but late last month, beauty salons, some restaurants, and a small number of other businesses were able to start reopening. For a few days, the number of new cases didn't get higher than the single digits, but the infection rate jumped to 36 on Saturday.

About 11,300 Lebanese nationals are set to return to the country via Middle East Airlines, and health officials said on one recent flight, there were 25 infected passengers on board, NPR reports. On Tuesday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said repatriated citizens must remain in self-quarantine and "abide by what is asked of them in order to avoid legal action."

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