BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon will gradually reopen its economy beginning on Monday, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said, following a four-day shutdown imposed after a rise in coronavirus cases threatened a second wave of the outbreak.
Already in the throes of a deep economic crisis, Lebanon began easing virus-related restrictions on business late last month to try to restore some economic activity. But that plan was paused last week after a rise in new cases.
Lebanon has been relatively successful reining in the outbreak since a mid-March lockdown that set an overnight curfew and shut most business and air travel. The country of about 6 million people has recorded 911 infections and 26 deaths.
In a televised address on Sunday, Diab said the economy would resume its gradual re-opening, but warned Lebanese to adhere strictly to health and safety guidelines that had been flouted during the initial attempt.
“We do not want this stage to turn into a nightmare, and we will not accept that all Lebanese pay the price for some irresponsible and indifferent behaviours,” said Diab.
A five-stage plan for resuming economic activity unveiled last month envisages most economic activity restored after a final period beginning on June 8.
Lebanon has not set a date for the re-opening of its airport for commercial flights.
Reporting by Eric Knecht; Editing by Frances Kerry