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In this file photo taken on May 18, 2020, a syringe is pictured on an illustration representation of COVID-19.

Libya on Monday reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus infections, the highest tally for a single day since the conflict-ravaged country announced its first cases in late March.

“Of the 4,291 tests performed on Sunday, 1,080 were positive,” said the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), a Tripoli-based government agency.

The figure brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in the North African country to 18,834, including 16,376 who required hospitalisation, 2,162 patients who recovered and 296 deaths.

The NCDC urged people in areas where the virus is spreading rapidly to avoid travel unless it is essential.

Tripoli and its suburbs, home to more than one-third of Libya’s population, accounted for more than half of the new cases for the third week in a row.

On Sunday, the NCDC launched a campaign to raise awareness about health protocols, including the wearing of masks which is compulsory in public.

It called on Tripoli residents to be more vigilant and to respect such measures given the “rapidly worsening epidemiological situation”.

Libya, ravaged by a complex web of conflicts since the ouster of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising, has seen Covid-19 cases surge, weighing on already stretched health services.

At the end of August, the World Health Organization voiced alarm over the uptick in infections.

“Compounding the situation, Libya’s health care system has been badly disrupted by years of conflict,” the WHO said.

“Given the acute shortages of tests and laboratory capacity, the real number of (Covid-19) cases is likely to be much higher.”

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