Lebanon News

Cabinet places travel restrictions to countries with coronavirus

President Michel Aoun heads a Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Feb. 13, 2020. (The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The Lebanese government decided to limit flights to and from countries with large numbers of coronavirus infections Tuesday, following a session headed by President Michael Aoun at Baabda Palace.

The announcement that travel restrictions will be implemented as a preventative measure against the coronavirus came after a special Cabinet session, which concluded Tuesday afternoon.

Part of the restrictions will be to completely halt flights for pilgrims, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said, after the session.

Iran, where many Lebanese Muslims fly for pilgrimages, has experienced a recent outbreak of coronavirus.

The first case of the disease in Lebanon was confirmed Friday by Health Minister Hamad Hasan.

The patient is a 45-year-old Lebanese woman, who arrived in Beirut Thursday from the Iranian city of Qom and is now being treated in quarantine at Rafik Hariri University Hospital.

During the meeting, ministers were expected to discuss medical challenges, including shortages of medical supplies in the country.

The Cabinet was also expected to discuss safety procedures, including ensuring that transport of patients is carried out exclusively by the Lebanese Red Cross and that that one governmental hospital per governorate is adequately equipped to deal with any infections.

New sterilization devices were installed at Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport Sunday to prevent the spread of the disease.

Two flights from Iran, where 15 people have died from the virus and another 95 cases have been confirmed, and a flight from Italy, where seven have died and 283 cases have been confirmed, arrived at the Beirut Airport Monday. No other cases in Lebanon have been confirmed.





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