Coronavirus: Lebanon debates closure of supermarkets, airport amid a surge in cases

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The advisory committee tackling the coronavirus pandemic in Lebanon issued a recommendation of a complete, one-week shutdown that includes closing Beirut’s international airport, shops, and supermarkets amid an unpreceded surge in cases following the holidays.

Al Arabiya English reached out to a senior airport official who clarified that airport officials are pushing for mandatory PCR testing upon arrival, followed by at least a 10-day quarantine at a hotel.


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“Our economy can’t endure such a decision, and it makes no sense to close the airport as only around 15 to 20 positive coronavirus cases are recorded from abroad on a daily basis,” the official told Al Arabiya English.

The Higher Defense Council is expected to meet on Monday morning to announce details of the complete shutdown.

Lebanon’s health minister is also expected to announce a decision to convert all government hospitals to coronavirus hospitals.

Local media reported that it is expected that citizens will be given a 48-hour notice period before the new procedures come into effect for them to secure their consumer needs.

Lebanon has been experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the past week. The country recorded a record 5,540 new cases and 17 deaths on Friday.

The surge in cases is directly linked to the state and citizen’s failure in implementing precautionary measures during the holiday celebrations when the government eased the restrictions amid a worsening economic situation.

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