Lebanon shuts schools for a week amid coronavirus fears

Lebanon shuts schools for a week as fourth coronavirus case is announced
2 min read
29 February, 2020
Education Minister Tarek Majzoub ordered the closure of all schools, universities and other educational institutions in the country until March 8.
Students wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus as a precaution in Beirut [Anadolu/Getty]
Lebanon announced Friday it would close all schools, universities and educational institutions until March 8 to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Lebanon's Education Ministry made the announcement as the country reported its fourth case of the virus, Reuters reported.

"In the interest of the health of students and their families... the minister of education Dr. Tarek Majzoub requests all educational institutions including kindergartens, schools, high schools, vocational institutions and universities to close," a statement by the education ministry read.

The measure will come into effect Saturday, Reuters reported.

Lebanon's fourth case is a Syrian national, who is now quarantined at a Beirut hospital.

The country's three other cases involved passengers arriving on flights from Iran - the worst-hit country in the region.

Lebanon announced on Friday it would bar entry to non-resident foreigners from the four countries most affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

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.

Read more: How the Middle East is dealing with coronavirus

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.

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.

Iran on Saturday reported 43 deaths from COVID-19, with the Islamic republic second only to China, where the outbreak was first reported, in terms of fatalities.

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