Image used for illustrative purposes Image Credit: AFP

Beirut: Facing a relentless surge in cases of coronavirus infections, Lebanese authorities are lengthening a nationwide nighttime curfew and placing a number of towns and villages under total lockdown.

The Interior Ministry's decisions Sunday increase a nighttime curfew by four hours, asking people to stay off the streets and shops to close between 9pm local time and 5am. It did not set an end date.

The Interior Ministry also put 115 towns and villages in total lockdown for a week because of a high positive infection rate and ``high level of danger.'' Bars and nightclubs will continue to be closed" restaurants and cafes are to continue to operate at 50% while public gatherings and parties are barred.

Lebanon, a country of over 5 million, has been witnessing a surge of infection cases, deaths and intensive care unit occupancy over the past weeks that brought the recorded cases to over 80,000. According to health ministry statistics, the number of recorded cases nearly doubled between September and October in the country that is also home to over 1 million refugees. The percentage of positive tests has increased to over 12% for every 100 tests and the average age of those who die from the virus has gone down.