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05 Apr 2020 | 07:58 PM UTC

Lebanon: Over 500 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported as of April 5 /update 12

Lebanon’s Ministry of Health confirms over 500 cases of COVID-19 as of April 5; take precautions against the virus

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Event

As of Sunday, April 5, Lebanon's Ministry of Public Health has confirmed 527 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country, with a total of 18 associated deaths. Travel restrictions remain in place in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, including the closure of Lebanon's borders as of Thursday, March 19. Additionally, Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY) continues to remain closed. Further decisions related to the extension of these closures are scheduled to be reviewed on Sunday, April 12.

Earlier on Thursday, March 26, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad announced that a nationwide lockdown set to expire on March 29 has been extended by two weeks until Sunday, April 12, to prevent further spread of COVID-19. All non-essential businesses will remain closed, and people will only be permitted to leave their homes to buy food and medicine. The government has also extended the shutdown to all public institutions and has ordered exempt stores, such as pharmacies and supermarkets, to close between 19:00 and 05:00 (local time) daily.

Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

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 March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

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

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.