Syria eases coronavirus curbs, new cases jump after expats return

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Tue, 26 May 2020 - 09:40 GMT

FILE PHOTO: A boy arranges protective face masks at a factory during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the closure of border crossings in northern Syria has negatively impacted business activities, in the rebel-held Idlib city, Syria M

FILE PHOTO: A boy arranges protective face masks at a factory during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the closure of border crossings in northern Syria has negatively impacted business activities, in the rebel-held Idlib city, Syria M

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - 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 U.S. 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.

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