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23 Mar 2020 | 11:51 PM UTC

Lebanon: Army deployed to enforce stricter quarantine measures March 21 /update 10

Lebanon deploys security forces to enforce stricter domestic quarantine measures due to COVID-19; further spread of the virus expected



Lebanese authorities deployed the army on Saturday, March 21, to enforce stricter measures to ensure people stay home and prevent gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Patrols and checkpoints will be implemented, and the government has called on the public to stay at home unless necessary. Authorities have warned that individuals who ignore government instructions could face criminal prosecution. The latest measures come after the number of COVID-19 cases in the country increased despite calls by authorities for the public to remain at home. The government previously announced a state of emergency on Monday, March 16, and prohibited entry to all foreign nationals as of Wednesday, March 18.

Meanwhile, Lebanon's Beirut -Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY) continues to remain closed since Thursday, March 19, at 00:01 (local time), until Sunday, March 29. Authorities also closed land borders with Syria and seaports to control the spread of the virus.

As of Tuesday, March 24, the Ministry of Public Health has confirmed 256 cases of COVID-19. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.


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.


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.