Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transport, Michel Najjar, released a statement on Friday announcing that Lebanon will halt all travel traffic coming from countries where the coronavirus has spread heavily.
Because the three coronavirus cases that were confirmed in Lebanon had arrived from abroad, specifically Iran, Minister Najjar decided on “halting transportation by air, land, and sea for all persons arriving from countries that witness an outbreak of the coronavirus.”
He specifically listed “China, South Korea, Iran, Italy” as the countries currently affected by the ban, adding, “and, as appropriate, other countries determined by the committee that’s following the preventive measures and procedures for the coronavirus.”
The only exceptions mentioned in the statement are for “Lebanese citizens and foreign nationals who are residents of Lebanon.”
The decision, which the ministry called exceptional and temporary, is an implementation of the Lebanese government’s resolution No. 1 of 20/02/2020.
The resolution included “approval to control air and travel traffic with countries experiencing outbreaks of the disease (coronavirus), and limiting flights to and from them according to the urgent need.”
Considering that resolution, “and given the extreme necessity resulting from the emergence of cases of infection with the coronavirus in Lebanon, which came from some countries that witnessed an outbreak,” the Ministry of Public Works and Transport implemented the ban on Friday, February 28th.
Through the second article of the ministry’s statement, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation was instructed to “circulate to all airlines the obligation to apply the aforementioned ban.”
As such, all airlines will stop their flights from the specified countries to Rafik Hariri International Airport, “with the exception of flights that exclusively carry Lebanese citizens and residents of Lebanon.”
“This decision applies exceptionally and temporarily until a later decision is made that cancels or amends it, and notification will be made as needed,” the statement concluded.
As of Friday, the Lebanese Ministry of Health has confirmed three cases of coronavirus infection in the country. All three of them had arrived from Iran, and the latest patient is an Iranian national.