March 26, 2020 / 11:11 AM / 3 days ago

Lebanon extends coronavirus lockdown by two weeks

An anti-government protestor sprays disinfectant to sanitize inside a tent as precaution against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beirut, Lebanon March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon is extending a lockdown by two weeks until April 12 to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said on Thursday.

Under the lockdown, declared under a state of medical emergency on March 15, people can only leave their homes to buy food and medicine and all non-essential businesses have been closed, along with Beirut airport.

Overnight compliance with the lockdown will be enforced more strictly, Abdel Samad said after a cabinet meeting.

Powerful paramilitary group Hezbollah said on Wednesday it was mobilising 25,000 people including medics and readying hospitals to bolster the state’s response to the virus.

Lebanon said on Thursday it had recorded 368 cases of COVID-19 and six deaths.

Reporting by Tom Perry and Eric Knecht; Editing by William Maclean and John Stonestreet

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