Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced on Friday, April 24, that the current lockdown measures, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, will be extended for an additional two weeks until Sunday, May 10. Authorities reportedly discussed a five-stage timetable to begin to reopen the country's economy in gradual phases; the first stage is set to begin on Monday, April 27, with the last stage beginning on Monday, June 8. The specific details of the five-stage plan, including which sectors would begin to reopen over coming weeks, were not made immediately available.
The current lockdown measures include a nationwide travel ban and overnight curfew; as of April 24, non-essential movement between 21:00 and 05:00 (local time) is prohibited. At present, nonessential businesses remain closed, with individuals only permitted to leave their homes to buy food and medicine. Additionally, the Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY), along with all ports and land borders, remain closed.
Alternating vehicle traffic controls remain in place until May 10; cars are only permitted on the road based on an odd/even license plate format and no vehicles are permitted to circulate on Sundays. The only exempt vehicles are those operated by security forces, medical staff, pharmacists, diplomats, and those working in other essential sectors. There is also a limit of three passengers in one car including the driver. Individuals over the age of 65 are also required to remain at home.
As of Saturday, April 25, there are 696 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 24 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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.
Copyright and Disclaimer