200526 Syria
Syrian protesters, displaced from their homes in the rebel bastion of Idlib which had been under assault by government forces earlier this year, gather outside a Turkish army base near Syria's northwestern city of Idlib on May 25, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Damascus: Syria said on Monday it would lift an overnight curfew starting Tuesday and allow movement between governorates, easing coronavirus lockdown measures even as the health ministry reported the largest single-day increase in cases.

The ministry reported 20 new infections of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the country’s tally to 106 cases and four deaths.

Syria has seen an uptick in infections in recent days, which it has attributed to the return of Syrians from abroad.

Damascus said on Monday that while it was easing lockdown measures as part of steps to reopen the economy, it would halt flights repatriating Syrians for the time being as it treats those that have recently returned.

Some diplomats including US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey have cast doubt on the government’s relatively low figures.

Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by nine years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.