Lebanon army says 13 coronavirus cases at military court

AFP , Sunday 10 May 2020

Christian worshippers wearing masks to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus, take part in Sunday Mass while maintaining a social distance at the Saint Georges Cathedral in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, May 10, 2020.(Photo: AP)

Lebanon's army said Sunday 13 soldiers at a military court had contracted the novel coronavirus, as state media said judges would be tested for the illness.

Lebanon has so far announced 845 cases of COVID-19, including 26 deaths.

The country started to lift confinement measures this week, although the number of cases has increased in recent days, including among Lebanese repatriated from abroad.

The army said it has recorded "13 cases among members at the military court", and that it had taken "all necessary preventive and medical measures".

Some 40 lawyers who had been to court in the past week were tested, with results expected on Monday, the state-run National News Agency said.

Judges and other soldiers would be tested from Monday too, it said.

The lawyers syndicate said all its buildings would be closed Monday to disinfect them.

Lebanon started on Monday the gradual lifting of confinement measures in place since mid-March, re-opening restaurants and hairdressers.

But with the number of virus cases rising, Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi warned that failure to comply with social distancing measures would result in the re-imposition of stricter lockdown measures.

He said on Sunday a nighttime curfew would start one hour earlier.

Lebanon fears that its health services will not be able to handle any large outbreak.

The coronavirus lockdown has compounded a serious economic crisis in the country, which has sent prices soaring and driven poverty up to 45 percent of the population.

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