July 10, 2020 / 4:11 PM / a month ago

Lebanon records 71 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, highest yet

FILE PHOTO - People wearing protective face masks walk past open shops, as Lebanon is gradually reopening its economy following a four-day shutdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hamra street in Beirut, Lebanon May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon recorded 71 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours, the highest daily total yet, the health minister said on Friday, calling it a frightening number and urging people to wear masks in crowded places.

Lebanon has recorded just over 2,000 cases of coronavirus and 36 deaths since February.

“We are ringing the alarm bell,” Health Minister Hamad Hassan told Reuters, saying the tally of new infections over two days was 135.

Hassan attributed the spike partly to expatriates who have arrived since the airport was reopened on July 1. One of these had infected 12 people at a wedding and another had infected 12 at a funeral, he said.

A second cluster of infections had appeared among nurses and doctors at hospitals and a third among refuse collectors.

Reporting by Laila Bassam; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Edmund Blair

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