COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus-2 (SARS-COV-2) pathogen, started as an epidemic in China. It later spread throughout the Eastern Hemisphere and the rest of the world, ultimately becoming a global pandemic as confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) .
There are approximately 3,500,000 cases around the world of COVID-19, 250,000 dead, 185 world regions affected, it’s a pandemic (global epidemic). Concurrently, the Lebanese economic crisis had worsened in November 2019, which ultimately led to a state of total national economic blockage by December 2019. A reduction of national and foreign currencies in the banks resulted in an inability to transfer foreign currency, which resulted in an almost complete cessation of tourism in Lebanon, one of Lebanon’s top economic resources . The direct consequence was an 80% reduction in Lebanese foreign travel for the holiday season at the end of the year, and the cancellation of 90% of visitor reservations who planned to come and spend the holidays in Lebanon. Hotel occupancy fell dramatically from 75% to less than 5% after October 17th.
Further, impacting the Lebanese tourism industry and economy has been the inability for existing investors to buy into Chinese and Far East business, as well as travel bans set in place to mitigate COVID-19 transmission . These two factors have left Lebanon in a precarious situation to deal with its existing economic instability and unstable public health and environmental programs, while trying to simultaneously create and implement COVID-19 public health policies. Unfortunately, managing Lebanon’s economic crisis and its COVID-19 response are directly impacting one another, and must go hand in hand in order to protect the citizens of Lebanon and improve the country’s overall economic status. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the decisions that influenced Lebanon’s response to the COVID- 19 pandemic and outline the current governing public health policies and procedures that have been adopted tomanage COVID-19 in Lebanon.