What it Means that Lebanon is in a State of Health Emergency

AFP | France24

Prime Minister Hassan Diab, announced Sunday 15 March, after an Emergency Council of Ministers meeting in Baabda, that the country is in a state of a health emergency. 

“Today, Lebanon is in a state of a health emergency, and the government, therefore, declares general mobilization until the end of March 31, 2020,” he said. 

The Lebanese Minister of Information, Manal Abdel Samad, then read out the measures taken in this context and that will be in force from 15 March until midnight 29 March.

Here is a clear and simple breakdown of what this entails:

– People are called to remain confined to their homes and to go out “only in the event of an extreme emergency.” (Note that the definition of extreme urgency has not been given, nor the measures that will be put in place to enforce this call).

– Meetings in private or public places are prohibited. 

– Beirut International Airport and all entry points (air, sea, and land) will be closed from Wednesday, 18 March until Sunday 29 March at midnight. 

Beirut under lockdown – Nabil Ismail

People excluded from this measure: members of UNIFIL, members of the diplomatic corps and international organizations, people working on sea block n° 4 located in the center of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and planes cargo (goods can therefore always enter Lebanon). 

– Lebanese, and non-Lebanese members of their families or who hold or not a Lebanese residence card, have until 18 March to return to Lebanon provided that the result of their test (PCR) is negative. 

This decision does not include people from the following countries: France, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Iran, China, South Korea.

– The closure of administrations, public institutions, municipalities, universities, public and private schools, and daycares. 

Exceptions are in particular provided for institutions under the Ministry of Defense and Health as well as for “Banque du Liban and all banks, in cooperation with the Association of Banks in Lebanon and the companies responsible for transferring and distributing the money.” 

Nabil Ismail

– An exception is also provided for “Electricity of Lebanon and the institutions or companies in charge of ensuring or distributing electric current in all Lebanese regions”.

– The suspension of work in companies, private companies, shops, offices of local businesses taking into account cases of extreme necessity. 

The following are exempt from this decision: bakeries and everything related to the sale of food products and other main consumer materials. 

66 total COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Lebanon
The Daily Star

In this context, the administrations, institutions, municipalities, military, and security apparatuses are called to apply these measures. 

The government also instructs the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Minister of Health, to undertake the necessary contacts with embassies and regional and international organizations so that they provide Lebanon with the medical equipment and medicines necessary through donations or helpers. 

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