Coronavirus Live News: China shuts down Langfang; Malaysia declares state of emergency | world News

Lebanese authorities tightened the nationwide lockdown on Monday, including an 11-day curfew for 24 hours, amid a significant spike in coronavirus infections and mounting criticism of the uncoordinated policies many blame for the spread of the virus.

The Associated Press: News of restrictions to be implemented starting Thursday morning has sparked panic in grocery shopping as people lined up outside supermarkets to stock up, sparking fears that crowds could further spread the virus.

Lebanon just announced a nationwide lockdown last week. But many, including the health minister and officials in a government committee, considered it too lenient because it excluded many sectors, such as flower sellers, plant nurseries and factories. Meanwhile, hospitals have been running out of beds amid the rapid proliferation of Covid-19 cases.

Critics have said hesitant and uncoordinated policies that vacillate between easing restrictions and lockdowns were behind the failure to contain the virus.

For example, despite a spike in infections, the government has eased restrictions ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations, hoping to boost the collapsing local economy as thousands of Lebanese expatriates arrive in the country. Bars and nightclubs, which have been ordered to close for months, have been allowed to open.

Health workers wearing face masks walk outside the American University of Beirut Medical Center, amid the outbreak of the Corona virus in Beirut.

Health workers wearing face masks walk outside the American University of Beirut Medical Center, amid the outbreak of the Corona virus in Beirut. Photo: Muhammad Azaker / Reuters

Since then, daily infection rates have hovered above 3,000, hitting an all-time high of more than 5,000 last week. Doctors and experts say the extent of the disease has not yet been felt, and they expect the numbers to rise in the coming days, which will lead to overtaking health facilities in the country with a population of nearly 6 million.

The sudden rise in the number of cases has depleted the healthcare sector, prompting lawmakers and officials to call on the government to consider closing the airport for 24 hours without exceptions, and closing the airport.

The government declared a “state of health emergency” from January 14 to 25, which includes a round-the-clock curfew. The interim Lebanese prime minister said earlier that the country had entered a “very critical area” in the battle against the Coronavirus.

As of Sunday, the World Health Organization said that 81.7% of hospital beds in Lebanon are occupied and that the occupancy rate of intensive care beds has reached 91.4%, the highest in Beirut. About 2,295 health care workers had been infected as of January 10, up from 2015 last week.

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