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Lebanon Enters Phase 2 of Easing COVID Lockdown Next Week

Lebanon Enters Phase 2 of Easing COVID Lockdown Next Week
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By staff, Agencies

Lebanon will enter phase two of easing a four-stage lockdown on Monday, one week after it launched its vaccination campaign against COVID-19.

The full lockdown in place since January 14 was imposed after a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases in the wake of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

“Lebanon enters phase 2 of easing an unevenly observed lockdown. Opening the commercial sector has been brought forward by one week. Yet, our COVID indicators show a persistently high community transmission especially in low compliance regions, and almost full hospitals,” said Firas Abiad, director general of the state-run Rafik Hariri University Hospital, which is leading the coronavirus fight.

Authorities in Lebanon adopted a strategy of gradually easing the lockdown aimed at opening the different sectors in the country in four phases to avoid big gatherings and transmission of the virus.

Abiad added in tweets that “regions that had low compliance with restrictions, such as Akkar and Baalbek/Hermel, the upward trend in COVID numbers is clear. Beirut and Mount Lebanon showed better compliance; their numbers improved markedly. Will they maintain the gains, or will they witness a surge?”

According to official data, the number of infections has reached 351,065 so far with 4,257 deaths from the virus.

On opening education facilities, he said it would “facilitate community transmission. Meanwhile, the vaccination drive is in its beginning and the supply of vaccines is still limited at the moment. The vaccine, therefore, will unlikely have an effect on the COVID numbers till later.”

Abiad urges more people to get the vaccine.

“Without financial support, extending the lockdown or enforcing it in economically devastated areas was a big task. Hope now lies on vaccinating as much high-risk individuals as possible, and relying on personal compliance with safety measures. Let us beware the ides of March,” he concluded.

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