Lebanon to limit entry from key coronavirus countries

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A woman wearing a protective mask walks in the vicinity of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in the southern outskirts of the Lebanese capital Beirut on February 21, 2020, where a woman is treated for coronavirus, the first case in the country. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP FILE)

Beirut, Lebanon — Lebanon announced Friday it would bar entry to non-resident foreigners from the four countries most affected by the new coronavirus outbreak, a day after announcing its third case.

The Middle Eastern country will deny entry to people arriving from China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy, the state news agency reported, without saying when the measure would come into effect.

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All airlines operating flights to Beirut have been notified of the ban, which does not affect Lebanese citizens or foreigners holding a residency permit, the agency added.

Lebanon’s health ministry on Thursday confirmed another coronavirus case. All three individuals infected – two Lebanese and an Iranian – arrived recently from Iran, the worst-hit country in the region.

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Despite government efforts to reassure the Lebanese, videos have circulated on social media denouncing what users say are insufficient screenings for the virus at Beirut’s international airport.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Iran rose to 34 on Friday, with the Islamic republic second only to China, where the outbreak was first reported, in terms of fatalities.

For more information about the novel coronavirus click here.

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