Public Outcry over Lebanon's Failure to Suspend Iran Flights over Coronavirus


Lebanese were up in arms on Saturday demanding a halt to flights from Iran one day after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in a 45-year-old Lebanese woman who had traveled from Qom in Iran.

“We have made contacts with Iranian authorities who assured that all necessary measures will be taken before a new flight arrives from Iran Monday. The same measures will be taken for all flights arriving from coronavirus infected countries,” said Health Minister Hassan Hamad.

He added: “Protection procedures from the disease will be activated more and more,” noting that the “woman’s health is getting better.”

A medical source at the hospital where the woman is being treated said that she returned from Iran with a high fever, but that her immunity was good and her condition stable.

Hamad also said that two other suspected cases in the southern town of Nabatieh were being “monitored closely.”

Thousands of Lebanese travel to Iran every year to visit Shiite holy sites in Qom and other cities.

The COVID-19 outbreak first appeared in Iran on Wednesday.

The Minister's statement that an Iranian flight bound for Beirut will be allowed to land in Lebanon has sent a wave of anger among Lebanese.

Tehran has now confirmed a total 18 infections and four deaths by the SARS-like virus, which first emerged in China in late December.

On Friday, Iraqi and Kuwaiti authorities were on high alert after banning travel the previous day to and from Iran, where authorities say the death toll from the new coronavirus has hit four.

Lebanese, already grappling with an unprecedented economic crisis, took to social media demanding a similar ban for flights from Iran.

"We have enough crises on our plate," one Lebanese said in a tweet, "We can definitely do without a novel problem whilst one that robs us our health."

“The government must stop all flights coming from Iran. Our health is more important than anything else,” another Lebanese tweeted.

China on Friday raised the death toll to 2,236 -- most of them in the province of Hubei, where the virus was first detected. More than 75,000 have now been infected in China and over 1,100 abroad.

Comments 12
Thumb ex-fpm 22 February 2020, 14:08

This government needs hezbollah's approval to suspend flights from and to Iran. These flights bring cash and sophisticated technology to hezbollah. So, their suspension is not that easy.

Iran is infested with Corona virus even by heir own admission.

Missing peace 22 February 2020, 14:12

tfeh! even irak is taking measures! but the coward lebanese politicians wouldn't upset hezbollah and iran....tfeh!
they just do not want to shoudlder any responsabilities! and we have to trust them to take economic measures? what a farce!

really disgusting and a total insult to lebanese people and their intelligence.

Thumb s.o.s 22 February 2020, 14:22

Lebanon's problems are always caused by the Shia.... when they don't kill us with weapons they kills us with diseases.

The best thing they can do is to stay among themselves and contaminate only themselves.

Thumb s.o.s 22 February 2020, 14:28

For those who fear the virus for their young children, sick or elder friends and relatives there's a solution. It's called Pneumovax 23. It won't stop the virus but it'll provide a protection against the bacterias that attack the lungs after getting contaminated. It's a life saver guys. And you need two shots of this vaccine even if the instructions mention one. you need a second one within a 30 to 60 days window period.

Thumb s.o.s 22 February 2020, 15:15

Jaafar, Béa m’a autorisé à appeler la brigade des mœurs. T’es foututu ! Haha

Thumb justin 22 February 2020, 15:17

"إيران تسجل ثاني أكبر عدد وفيات بـ”كورونا”

أعلنت إيران، السبت، وفاة شخص خامس من جراء إصابته بفيروس كورونا الجديد، ليرتفع عدد الوفيات بسبب الفيروس في هذا البلد إلى 5 حالات. وإلى جانب حالة الوفاة الخامسة، أعلنت إيران أيضا عن اكتشاف 10 إصابات بالفيروس القاتل، ليرتفع عدد الإصابات إلى 28 حالة.

Thumb justin 22 February 2020, 15:31

"تقنين الرحلات الجوية مع الدول المصابة بـ«كورونا»!

Yes, instead of receiving 400 infected passengers from Iran daily, this inept submissive government is now only allowing 200 infected passengers from Iran daily!

Thumb barrymore 22 February 2020, 15:57

حسن: هناك توصية لمنع الطيران عن المناطق الموبوءة داخل البلدان في العالم وإذا أردت إعلاق الخطوط الجوية فيتوجب حينها منع الطيران عن 27 دولة وهذا شيء غير صحيح وليس هناك أي توصية من منظمة الصحة العالمية لإغلاق الخطوط الجوية مع إيران ۔

So, he does not care about the health of his nation and is waiting for WHO to instruct him to ban flights from Iran? Criminals that should be brought to justice!

Thumb barrymore 22 February 2020, 16:00

وما يضحك أن فريقاً طبياً تابعاً لوزارة الصحة اللبنانية كان على متن الطائرة المذكورة مما اعتبر البعض ان وجوده لحسن الحظ، ولكن تبيّن انه لسوء الحظ، فإن هذا الفريق الطبي المتخصص – والذي كان يشارك في مناقشة عمل صحي مشترك بين لبنان وإيران في العاصمة طهران بطلب من وزير الصحة اللبنانية – رغم كشفه في الطائرة عن الحالة المشتبه بها، لم يبادر أو يوصي بأخذ إجراءات الحجر الصحي الرقابي الوقائي الإلزامي لبقية ركاب الطائرة المنكوبة، ولأنه “مش كل مرَّه بتسلم الجَّرَّه” وقعت الواقعة وتبين ان الطائرة أصبحت مصدراً لأكثر من حالة، وأن الحبل على الجرار كما يقولون! هي قضية إهمال أو مسايرة عاطفية لخاطر بعض ركاب الطائرة؟ أو جهل بعاقبة هذا التصرف؟ أو جريمة موصوفة تستدعي تدخل القضاء العادل غير المُسيَّس المختص للحكم فيها ومعاقبة المقصرين من مسؤولينا الصحيين؟

Thumb chrisrushlau 22 February 2020, 19:18

Christian Daesh.

Missing samiam 22 February 2020, 19:43

Kizb hates seeing this--it will be hard for them to justify keeping the flights coming in, despite Iranian 'assurances'. Iran doesn't have the resources nor does it care about its people or the people visiting.

Thumb LongLiveLebanon 24 February 2020, 01:20

"Measures" are not enough. This stance shows that the government is controlled by Iran and Hizbullah.