Severity: Warning Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities in Lebanon reimpose a series of COVID-19 restrictions through at least Aug. 10 amid a rise in cases.
- Alert Begins: 27 Jul 2020 07:37 PM UTC
- Alert Expires: 20 Aug 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
Authorities in Lebanon have announced plans to reimpose a series of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions beginning July 30. The new restrictions, to be in place through Aug. 10, are due to a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. Bars, nightclubs, markets, movie theaters, public parks, and indoor pools will not be allowed to operate. Authorities will also ban religious gatherings. Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to operate at 50-percent capacity. Stores, private companies, banks, and educational institutions will be also be allowed to operate but only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY) and the country's borders will remain open until July 31; after which, travelers must provide the results of their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before they are allowed entry into the country. Travelers coming from countries with high infection rates will undergo 24 to 48 hours of quarantine in designated hotels until their test results are in.
Other restrictions that remain in place include:
- Authorities extended the existing medical state of emergency until Aug. 2.
- Residents are required to wear protective face coverings when in public.
- Demonstrations and gatherings of any type remain banned.
- Individuals and businesses that violate the country's social distancing and safety guidelines will face a fine.
Authorities had been gradually easing restrictions as part of the nation's COVID-19 recovery plan:
- Officials lifted the nationwide nightly 2359-0500 curfew from July 1. Previously, businesses were only permitted to open between the hours of 0500-2359; they can now operate anytime.
- Commercial flights at BEY resumed July 1, albeit with a reduced operating capacity of 10 percent, compared to 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 need to self-quarantine per 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.
- Authorities have lifted vehicular movement restrictions, and public transportation resumed nationwide, albeit with social-distancing measures and passenger limits in place.
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.
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.