Libya reports 617 new COVID-19 cases, total nears 80,000

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TRIPOLI, LIBYA - OCTOBER 18: A health care worker receives polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at a tent to combat the increasing cases of the coronavirus pandemic at Abu Selim town in Tripoli Libya on October 18, 2020. (Photo by Mucahit Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
TRIPOLI, LIBYA – OCTOBER 18: A health care worker receives polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at a tent to combat the increasing cases of the coronavirus pandemic at Abu Selim town in Tripoli Libya on October 18, 2020. (Photo by Mucahit Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The National Center for Disease Control of Libya on Wednesday reported 617 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 79,797.

The center said in a statement it received a total of 4,156 suspected samples, 617 of which were tested positive, adding 610 patients have recovered while 10 others died.

The country has reported a total of 50,914 recoveries and 1,125 fatalities.

Badraddin Al-Najjar, director of the center, on Wednesday said that the pandemic situation in the country is “getting worse and the coronavirus cases increase every day in the country,” according to Libyan News Agency.

Al-Najjar stressed the need to resort to total closure of the country in case the current pandemic situation continues.

The first two weeks of November saw a 22-percent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, with Libya’s biggest cities — Tripoli, Misrata and Benghazi — witnessing the largest spikes, according to Stephanie Williams, acting special representative of the UN Secretary General in Libya.

“With limited testing capacity and poor mortality surveillance, the numbers are a fraction of what health experts suspect to be the true scale of the problem,” she told the UN Security Council recently.

Since the first case was reported in March, Libyan authorities have taken a series of precautionary measures against the pandemic, including closing the country’s borders, shutting down schools and mosques, banning public gatherings and imposing a curfew.

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