Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Lebanese authorities extend the existing nationwide lockdown through May 24 due to COVID-19 activity. Nightly 2100-0500 curfew in effect.
This alert affects Lebanon
This alert began 05 May 2020 16:38 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 Jul 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Event: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Through at least May 24
- Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions; increased security
Lebanese authorities extended the existing nationwide lockdown through May 24 as part of the country's efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A nightly 2100-0500 curfew remains in effect, and nonessential travel is banned nationwide. The lockdown was initially announced March 15 after President Michel Aoun declared a medical state of emergency. Lebanese military and security forces have deployed in cities nationwide to enforce these measures. Operations at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY), regional airports, and all seaports remain suspended since March 18; the closure does not apply to UN, diplomatic, and cargo flights. Demonstrations and gatherings of any type remain banned. Banks have limited operating hours.
Vehicular travel restrictions remain in place nationwide until further notice. Vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers may be driven on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; the use of vehicles with license plates ending in even numbers or zero is restricted to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. No vehicles may be driven on Sundays. Diplomatic, military, and security vehicles are exempt from the measure, as are vehicles used by employees of essential institutions, such as medical personnel and journalists.
Lebanese authorities have approved a phased easing of COVID-19 restrictions through June 8 to allow for the gradual resumption of economic activities. Public transportation has resumed with safe-distancing measures and passenger limits. Restaurants, cafes, factories, parks, hair salons, retail shops, vegetable and meat markets, dairies, bakeries, carpenters, mechanics, and television production companies have been permitted to reopen. However, authorities have imposed restrictions on the hours of operation.
The next phases are as below:
- May 11: Nurseries, car dealerships, casinos, and institutions for people with special needs will be permitted to reopen.
- May 25: Schools, universities, malls, and shopping centers will be permitted to reopen.
- June 8: Tourist sites, gyms, entertainment venues, and places of worship will be permitted to reopen.
Entry to and exit from the northern town of Bsharri remains prohibited since 0600 April 11 following a local surge in COVID-19 cases. It remains unclear how long the restriction will remain in effect. Authorities could announce additional requirements and restrictions based on disease activity throughout the country.
Background and Analysis
Lebanon's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.