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Lebanon shuts parliament over coronavirus outbreak

Lebanon recorded its first coronavirus-related death on Tuesday.

Date of publication: 10 March, 2020

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Lebanon's parliament halted its activities to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to Tuesday news reports.
Lebanon's Beirut-based parliament has postponed parliamentary meetings and closed MPs' offices for a week to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to Tuesday news reports, as the country recorded its first coronavirus death on the same day.

The parliament's weekly Wednesday meetings were postponed, committee meetings were delayed and lawmakers' offices in the parliament building were shut for a week for a sterilisation procedure.

The move came as a Lebanese man died on Tuesday of the coronavirus, marking the country's first recorded death, a health ministry source told AFP.

The 56-year-old was receiving treatment in a state-run Beirut hospital, the ministry source said, adding that he had recently returned from Egypt, where the virus has also spread.

Earlier this week, the government halted flights for non-residents from epicenters of the virus, shut schools and warned against public gatherings.

Last week, Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan said the country's hospitals were prepared to deal with a coronavirus spread.

Regional neighbours Saudi Arabia and Qatar previously suspended flights to and from Lebanon, among other countries affected by coronavirus.

Lebanon's novel coronavirus flare-up began late last month, after Lebanese nationals returned home from visiting Shia holy sites in Qom, Iran, the epicentre of the Iranian outbreak.

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