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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon extends virus lockdown

The death toll in Lebanon has surpassed 2,000 [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 January, 2021

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With the infection rate continuing to rise and hospitals reaching maximum capacity, Lebanon has decided to extend its nationwide lockdown.

Lebanese authorities have extended a nationwide lockdown to February 8 amid a steep rise in death and infection rates from the new coronavirus.

The rise has come despite a strict lockdown in place since January 11.  

Despite increasing hospital beds, the government has been unable to stop the crisis overwhelming the country's health system.

ICU bed occupancy has been rising, hitting 91%  late Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization.

Registered daily infections have hovered around 5,000 since the holiday season, up from nearly 1,000 in November.

The death toll has surpassed 2,000 with daily deaths of between 40 and 60 in the past week.

Doctors say with increased testing, infections have also increased, recording a positivity rate of over 20% for every 100 tests.

Nurses and doctors are overwhelmed, with more than 2,300 health care workers infected since February.

Before the pandemic hit last year, Lebanon was experiencing a crippling economic and financial crisis that had sparked protests, banks closure and restrictions on capital movement amid a deep foreign currency crunch.

Read more: Hariri's comeback met with scorn and apathy in Lebanon

The crises, coupled with coronavirus restrictions, have sent nearly half of the population into poverty, increased unemployment and forced many businesses to shut or leave the country.

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