Severity: Warning Alert

Security: Employees at Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon launch indefinite strike March 12. Healthcare disruptions likely.

This alert affects Beirut

This alert began 13 Mar 2020 17:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Hospital strike
  • Location(s): Rafik Hariri University Hospital, Beirut (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Medical services disruptions

Summary
Employees and contract workers at the state-run Rafik Hariri University Hospital (RHUH) in Beirut launched an indefinite strike on March 12. RHUH is Lebanon's leading hospital for treating cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lebanon. The purpose of the labor action is to protest poor working conditions and nonpayment of salaries.

Disruptions to medical services are almost certain for the duration of the strike. Longer wait times and limited appointment options may also occur at nearby healthcare facilities as patients who would normally patronize RHUH seek treatment at other hospitals and clinics.

Background and Analysis
The strike comes amid the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. The disease originated in China's city of Wuhan in Hubei Province. As of March 11, Lebanese authorities have confirmed at least 68 coronavirus cases. Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced March 11 that all flights and other travel to and from Italy, South Korea, China, and Iran are suspended immediately until further notice to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Lebanon will also bar the entry of all arrivals from France, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Spain, the UK, and Germany; Lebanese citizens and diplomats from these countries will have four days from March 11 to return to Lebanon before the implementation of further flight restrictions.

Advice
Confirm all medical appointments at RHUH, as well as at nearby healthcare facilities due to the potential for overflow disruptions. As a standard security precaution, keep away from any strike-related demonstrations that may materialize.