IOM Assists Lebanese Government Response to COVID19
07 April 2020
The arrival home of 326 Lebanese citizens flights from countries where they had been stranded due to COVID-19 restrictions, was eased by the UN IOM.
At the request of the Government of Lebanon, IOM conducted a rapid assessment of the Beirut International Airport health clinic, as well as of the designated isolation sites and pathways for the movement of passengers arriving on flights from the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria.
IOM’s team delivered urgently needed Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs), medical supplies and equipment to support proper screening on site ahead of the arrival of the first flight to ensure that staff were able to complete their work effectively and safely.
The organization also provided a range of protective equipment ranging from protection gear, N95 masks, surgical masks and protective eyeglasses to non-contact thermometers, gloves, shoe- and head covers for both airport security and the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) clinic at the airport.
An additional donation of 220 sets of Tyvek 1422A protective clothing was made to the country’s main referral public health facility at the Rafic Hariri University Hospital (RHUH). Dr. Firass Abiad, Manager of the RHUH, expressed gratitude for IOM’s “timely donation of protection gear, which are critically needed at the Intensive Care Unit for admitting and treating COVID-19 cases. The hospital was running very short on essential equipment.”
In addition to the support provided to the government’s repatriation efforts, IOM has also offered assistance to vulnerable migrants in the country and organized an awareness raising session on prevention methods related to COVID-19 on its premises specifically for migrant workers. The session involved information related to the Lebanese Government curfews and general mobilization order, whereas migrants received cash assistance, surgical masks and gloves. This activity was organized jointly with the Nigerian Embassy in Lebanon, and two similar activities where hygiene kits will be distributed are being organized this week.
As of 5 April 2020, Lebanon's Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has confirmed 527 COVID-19 cases in the country, 18 associated deaths and 54 recovered patients. The government has also extended the shutdown of its public institutions, and all non-essential businesses. Citizens are only permitted to leave their homes to buy food and medicine. The Government of Lebanon decided to allow an exceptional opening of the airport for Middle East Airlines (MEA) flights to support in the repatriation of citizens trapped abroad due to the COVID-19, despite the lockdown and curfew measures.