Lebanon to impose lockdown, curfew as virus surges
Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the lockdown will begin on Saturday and last until the end of the month.
"We have reached a very critical period regarding the spread of the virus and we are left with no other alternatives," Diab said, suggesting the lockdown could be extend.
"We are worried that we might reach a point where people die in the streets with no places available at hospitals."
Lebanon has broken daily records in recent weeks, straining the country's medical sector where intensive care units are almost full and cannot take more cases.
The World Health Organization says 1,527 health workers have tested positive since the first case was reported in Lebanon in late February.
The Lebanese announcement came despite harsh criticism by business sectors that have been suffering for more than a year as the country passes through its worst economic and financial crisis.
Read also: Lebanon under curfew, locks down 115 towns in virus fight
The head of Lebanon workers union, Bechara el Asmar, warned on Monday the effects of a complete lockdown "will be catastrophic for workers and economic activities". Daily laborers cannot afford to stay at home, he said.
Aya Majzoub of the Human Rights Watch said the crisis has thrown more Lebanese below the poverty line, adding that the government is obliged to ensure that everyone has adequate food, water, health care, and other basic needs, "including when the population is subject to stay-at-home orders".
Tiny Lebanon has registered 95,355 cases and 732 deaths of the virus but the real numbers are believed to be much higher.
Those numbers began rising quickly following a massive August 4, blast at Beirut's port that killed and wounded many and caused damage worth billions of dollars.
Many intensive care units meant for coronavirus cases have been used to treat thousands of injured in the port explosion.
Over the past weeks, dozens of Lebanese towns of villages were locked down but the move did not stop the virus. Some sectors have been exempted, including flour mills, bakeries, banks and clinics.