BEIRUT: Lebanon Sunday registered 54 new coronavirus deaths and 2,081 more cases, on the eve of the country starting a six-week process of gradual reopening.
The cases were detected among 10,884 tests. The positivity rate of the tests in the last two weeks stood at 22 percent.
The total number of cases since the virus was first detected in the country in late February 2020 rose to 319,917 according to the Health Ministry. The total number of fatalities stands at 3,616.
The Health Ministry said 2,241 patients were in hospital for COVID-19, with 902 in ICUs and 309 on ventilators.
Lebanon registered a record 98 coronavirus-related deaths Friday as authorities announced that the country would gradually start to reopen Monday.
As the 25-day total lockdown comes to an end at dawn Monday, measures will start to be eased up in a four-stage plan. A full day curfew will remain in place and an online permission is required for movement. The first stage will go into effect Monday with banks, supermarkets, groceries stores and some factories opening up with limited capacity.
Transition from one stage to the other will take place every two weeks.
Health experts had recommended that the strict lockdown be extended for another week to give hospitals a chance to recuperate as their ICUs remain almost completely full.
However, as the country’s economic collapse continues with unprecedented unemployment levels, officials say another extension is not feasible.
Lebanon will start an inoculation campaign in about a week with the first batch of vaccines scheduled to arrive in mid-February.