Lebanon to allow expats to return despite virus lockdown
A nurse checks the temperature of a woman inside a pre-examination tent designated for coronavirus disease patients outside a hospital in Beirut. AFP
Lebanese authorities said Tuesday they would allow expatriates to return despite a lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a move that could affect up to 20,000 people.
The cabinet gave its initial approval for the proposal, which could be put in motion "in principle" from Sunday, a government statement said, without giving details of how it would be implemented.
An estimated 20,000 people "want to return to Lebanon", Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti told local television.
Beirut's international airport has been closed for nearly two weeks, along with schools, universities, restaurants and bars, and Lebanese have been urged to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Lebanon has reported 463 official cases of the virus and 12 deaths.