Lebanon Shuts Down, Announces Travel Ban, and Bans Public Gatherings to Prevent More Coronavirus Cases

Volunteers sanitise a jewellery shop as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus in Sidon [Ali Hashisho/Reuters]

Lebanon can’t afford another crisis, but that’s exactly what it’s facing with the coronavirus. The government went into prevention mode this week, shutting down as much of the country as possible and banning public gatherings.

Horizons International’s Pierre Houssney says the ban applies to ministry, too.

“We’ve actually launched three new online initiatives for our staff to be involved in so that they can all be working at home instead of doing their field ministries while things are shut down,” he explains.

Coronavirus adds to Lebanon’s woes

Lebanon’s Prime Minister announced a travel ban on Iran, Italy, South Korea, and China yesterday. The coronavirus has claimed two lives in Lebanon so far, and hundreds of people are reportedly in quarantine. At least 37 percent of all cases have come from people who are suspected of having caught the virus abroad, Arab News reports.

With disasters on every side, the outlook is bleak. Lebanon’s economy is non-existent and Houssney says a majority of people live paycheck to paycheck. If people can’t work, their family won’t eat that week. More about Lebanon’s struggles here.

“When you have a situation like that and a worker [is] starting to show symptoms… he’s not going to self-quarantine because he needs to work,” Houssney explains.

“He’s taking public transportation because he can’t afford anything else [and therefore will spread the virus to others] … I don’t really think that it’s going to be containable in a place like Lebanon.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth

CALL TO ACTION

  • Ask the Lord to intervene in Lebanon as only He can.
  • Pray for guidance from the Lord, then respond in obedience.
  • Pray for Horizons staff and other believers in Lebanon as they seek to help others yet wisely steward risk and responsibility.