A sign reading "Beirut" is seen among Christmas decorations in downtown Beirut, Lebanon December 27, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Lebanon has suspended all group prayers in mosques, including the weekly Friday prayers, starting Thursday, as health professionals warned that the latest surge in COVID-19 infections risked causing catastrophe across a country already suffering from the aftermath of a devastating August explosion in Beirut and a dire economic crisis, local media reported.

The General Directorate of Islamic Endowments in Lebanon announced on Wednesday, the temporary closure of all mosques in Lebanon, starting Thursday.

The Endowments called on everyone to abide by this decision, but said the call to prayer will continue in the mosques.

Lebanon’s health ministry confirmed a new daily record of 4,166 coronavirus infections Wednesday, as medics warn that the health care system is struggling to cope.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lebanon has recorded nearly 200,000 cases including 1,537 deaths, according to health ministry figures. A total of 21 people died on Wednesday.

The new peak came after authorities eased measures in December for the holiday season.

New restrictions to stem the spread of the virus, including a 6pm to 5am curfew, begin Thursday and will last until the end of January.

Vaccines are weeks away from arriving.

Lebanon hopes to receive its first shipment of coronavirus jabs in mid-February.