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Lebanon imposes new economic lockdown in bid to curb virus surge

Shops, banks and other businesses closed down across Lebanon on Thursday as part of new lockdown measures aimed at curbing a fresh surge in cases of the new coronavirus. Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi earlier this week announced a two-stage lockdown over the next fortnight, to include the shutdown of private businesses, banks and other economic activities.
Bars, nightclubs and public markets will also be closed and all religious gatherings, including funerals and weddings are to be suspended.
The first lockdown stage will run from July 30 till August 3, coinciding with the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. The second will take effect from August 6-10. Lebanon recorded its highest daily tally of coronavirus cases so far on Wednesday, with 182 new infections.
The latest cases have taken the country’s overall tally to 4,202, with 55 COVID-19-related deaths.
The virus cases in Lebanon spiked this month following the reopening of Beirut international airport.
People coming from abroad were accused of failing to abide by a 14-day mandatory quarantine measure.  Firas Abayd, the head the Rafik Hariri Hospital, a main hospital in Beirut tackling coronavirus, predicted in a tweet that Lebanon will see a rise in hospitalizations due to the new infections.