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No lockdown yet, Abiad says, while Mawlawi tells F&B sector to expect stricter enforcement of COVID-19 measures

No lockdown yet, Abiad says, while Mawlawi tells F&B sector to expect stricter enforcement of COVID-19 measures

“It is clear that the [COVID-19] Omicron variant is spreading in Lebanon due to increased contact between people,” Abiad said. (Credit: Dalati and Nohra)

BEIRUT — Parliament’s health committee has discussed a total lockdown but as yet “no decision has been taken,” Health Minister Firass Abiad said at a news conference Wednesday. Speaking alongside Abiad, Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi emphasized that coronavirus preventive measures for touristic establishments, including restaurants and bars, will be strictly enforced over the upcoming New Year’s weekend.

Here’s what we know:

    • “It is clear that the [COVID-19] Omicron variant is spreading in Lebanon due to increased contact between people,” Abiad said. The Health Ministry recorded 3,153 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. 

   • For his part, Mawlawi said that “after today's meeting, the Interior Ministry will strictly implement preventive measures until Jan. 9, and the Internal Security Forces will be deployed within private establishments such as hotels to ensure that the procedures are implemented.”

   • The Health Ministry earlier this month issued new measures aimed at curbing the coronavirus’ spread over the holidays. Under the new measures, since Dec. 10 bars and restaurants have been prohibited from admitting customers who have not had at least a single vaccine dose or a negative PCR test result in the previous 48 hours. The committee also decided to make full vaccination mandatory for all public sector employees as well as employees in the tourism sector.

   • Whoever does not apply the measures on New Year's Eve, will have clients evacuated and will be referred to the competent court, Mawlawi said.

   • On Monday, restaurant owners’ syndicate head Tony Ramy said the state and customers must share responsibility for ensuring COVID-19 curbing restrictions are enforced in touristic establishments.

   • Mawlawi noted he will “personally oversee the implementation of the procedures and will hold an evening meeting in the Interior Ministry to inform ISF officers of the strictness” of implementing procedures, threatening that penalties “would reach imprisonment” for those who contribute to spreading the virus.


BEIRUT — Parliament’s health committee has discussed a total lockdown but as yet “no decision has been taken,” Health Minister Firass Abiad said at a news conference Wednesday. Speaking alongside Abiad, Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi emphasized that coronavirus preventive measures for touristic establishments, including restaurants and bars, will be strictly enforced over the upcoming...