Lebanon is going to gradually ease strict coronavirus lockdown, forced since Jan. 11, in four two-week stages starting from Monday, the Caretaker government said on Friday.
Lebanon imposed a 24-hour curfew when the cases rose after lax measures over the Christmas holiday period, pushing hospital capacities to the limit.
Meanwhile, the country is dealing with a devastating financial crisis that has paralyzed banks. The lockdown faced resistance amid concerns over soaring unemployment, inflation and poverty.
Last week, protests culminated in Tripoli, Lebanon’s poorest city, where protesters had fierce clashes with police.
On his part; Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in a statement that while Sunday would be the last day of total lockdown some restrictions would remain in place on Monday.
“We will continue with regulations that will prevent the return to what the situation had reached pre-lockdown,” Diab said.
Diab is leading the government in a caretaker role as the country’s fractious politicians remain unable to agree on a new administration since he quit following the Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion.
Caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmy said that in the first two-week period of lighter restrictions starting on Monday, those wanting to leave their homes would still need to apply for permission on available electronic platforms.
Fahmy added that details of which economic sectors can open in the coming two weeks will be announced in a few hours.
Lebanon has recorded 3,107 new cases on Thursday, with total cases reaching 312,269 and total deaths at 3,397.