BEIRUT: The first wave of Lebanese stranded abroad arrived in Beirut Sunday, making their way to designated hotels where they will spend the night.
Two planes have arrived up to this point, from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, carrying the travelers and a team of medical professionals.
The passengers were tested at the airport to determine whether they can head home Monday, remain in quarantine or be transported to Rafik Hariri Hospital.
They were transported in buses to the hotel, located in Raoucheh, where tight security measures were implemented.
Another 1500 Lebanese have also asked to return from Saudi Arabia, Lebanese Ambassador to the Kingdom told local media.
Health Minister Hamad Hasan, speaking to media at Rafik Hariri International airport, maintained that strict measures were followed to ensure that any infected traveler would be identified and quarantined.
Beirut's airport saw tight security and large numbers of health officials, who will be stationed there as flights continue making their way to the capital. Medical personnel were seen taking travelers' temperature before sanitizing their luggage.
Two additional planes are expected to arrive later in the day, from Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, the state-run National News Agency reported.
“The foreign minister says there are between 20,000 to 21,000 expatriates who registered to return,” Diab told local media.
One new death and seven new cases of coronavirus were reported Sunday, bringing the total number of people dead to 18 and infections to 527.
Seventeen deaths have been registered by the Health Ministry so far, and 50 have recovered since the disease was first confirmed in Lebanon on Feb. 21.
In a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Lebanon’s government issued an order Sunday further restricting movement.
Vehicles with a license plate ending in an odd number can be driven Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Those ending with an even number can only be driven Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays while all movement is banned Sunday.
A number of exceptions to the order will apply, however, which includes Diplomatic, military and security vehicles as well vehicles driven by doctors, pharmacists, Red Cross workers and security personnel.
Media workers and journalists are also exempt.
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