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28 Feb 2020 | 08:46 PM UTC

Lebanon: Educational institutes to close until March 8 amid COVID-19 outbreak /update 2

Education ministry announces schools and universities will close until March 8, due to ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak; further spread of the virus expected in the near term

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Event

The Education Ministry on Friday, February 28, announced that all schools and universities will close until Sunday, March 8, to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The measures are due in effect from Saturday, February 29.

Lebanon's Ministry of Public Works and Transport on Friday announced a temporary entry ban on travelers from Iran, Italy, China, and South Korea from entering Lebanon via air, land, or sea until further notice due to COVID-19. Lebanese nationals and foreign residents in Lebanon are excluded from the restriction.

As of February 28, health officials have confirmed four cases of the virus in Lebanon. Further international spread of the COVID-19 virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks. 

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "'very high' at global level."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.