What are Lebanon’s new COVID-19 measures for the holidays?

Lebanon’s COVID-19 committee has imposed a series of new social distancing and lockdown measures as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rises to new heights.

The new measures include a night-time curfew for individuals who have not received one jab of any vaccine or who do not possess a negative PCR (less than 48 hours old) from December 17 to January 9, between the hours of 7 PM and 6 AM.

The committee has also made full vaccination mandatory for all public sector, health, education, tourism, and public transport workers as of January 10. For those who do not wish to comply, they will have to take a PCR test twice per week at their own expense or risk being fired from their jobs.

The committee has also extended the winter break for school and university students from December 16 to January 10 in order to give schools more time to vaccinate their students. The original break was planned between December 22 and January 7.

The committee has also imposed new measures on those arriving in Beirut airport as of January 1, which include registering on the electronic platform designed by the Health Ministry to obtain a mandatory health pass to enter Lebanon.

Moreover, bars and restaurants will now be banned from admitting customers who have not had a single vaccine dose or negative PCR (in the last 48 hours) as of December 10. Health Minister Firass Abiad urged business owners to be strict about these measures in order to curb a new wave of infections.

Only 26 percent of the Lebanese population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 1.8 million individuals in the country having received their second dose according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization. Around 30 percent of the population received the first dose (or 2.08 million).

These measures come in light of the new rise in infections across Lebanon, as daily positive cases peak above 1,000 and the world becomes fearful of the spread of a new Omicron variant ahead of the holiday season.

On Saturday, December 4, Lebanon is hosting a third dose vaccine marathon between 8 AM and 3 PM in selected health centers for those 50 and above who received their dose at least five months ago.