Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Lebanon lift the nationwide nightly curfew from July 1 amid easing of COVID-19 restrictions. International flights resume.

  • Alert Begins: 01 Jul 2020 07:09 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions ongoing; increased security

Summary
Authorities in Lebanon lifted the nationwide nightly 2359-0500 curfew from July 1 amid a gradual easing of restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Previously, businesses were only permitted to operate between the hours of 0500-2359; however, now they may operate anytime. The measure coincides with the July 1 resumption of commercial flights at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY), albeit with a reduced operating capacity of 10 percent compared to that of July 2019. Private flights to and from BEY resumed June 24.

Passengers will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and notified of their test result within 24 hours. In the event of a positive test result, affected travelers will be required to self-quarantine in accordance with instructions from the Ministry of Health. Nonresidents traveling to Lebanon are required to have a valid health insurance policy for the duration of their trip. Passenger travel at BEY, regional airports, and all seaports was initially suspended March 18.

Authorities in Lebanon have extended the existing medical state of emergency until Aug. 2 as part of the country’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. However, authorities have gradually lifted numerous COVID-19 restrictions in recent weeks. Authorities reopened nightclubs, public parks, and flea markets June 21. Authorities previously lifted vehicular movement restrictions and allowed public transportation to resume nationwide, albeit with social distancing measures and passenger limits in place. Government institutions and certain private companies, including various shops and stores, were permitted to resume normal operations from June 1.

Authorities may reimpose restrictions in the coming weeks depending on the evolution of disease activity. Lebanese authorities previously reimposed movement restrictions in mid-May due to an increase in COVID-19 cases after the government began to gradually ease restrictions. Residents were only permitted to leave their homes for essential needs, such as purchasing food and medicine or seeking medical assistance. Authorities have also imposed localized lockdowns on towns including Majdal Anjar, Bar Elias, and Mazboud after surges in COVID-19 cases were recorded in those areas. Authorities may impose additional lockdowns in the future to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Residents in Lebanon are required to wear protective face coverings when in public. Individuals and businesses that violate the country's social distancing and safety guidelines will face a fine. Demonstrations and gatherings of any type remain banned. Restaurants and cafes may only operate at 50 percent capacity.

Background and Analysis
Lebanon's 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.

Advice
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.


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