- Reviewed: 19 March 2020, 13:55 NZDT
- Still current at: 29 May 2020
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There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Lebanon.
Local authorities in countries and territories with confirmed cases of COVID-19 may impose containment measures including travel restrictions and quarantine requirements to prevent the spread of the virus.
Such measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly, including where and to whom they apply to and for how long. All travellers should stay informed of measures being taken by authorities in the areas they are travelling to. We recommend that all travellers consult the official website or the nearest embassy or consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls and other measures that may apply to you.
For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals, including travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website before you travel. IATA provides a comprehensive list of all countries and territories that have imposed COVID-19 related border restrictions and is being continually updated.
As part of its response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand Government has some temporary travel restrictions in place in New Zealand. Please refer to the New Zealand Ministry of Health website for up to date information.
On 3 January 2020, an Iranian military commander and Iraqi paramilitary leaders were killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad International Airport.
The security situation in the Middle East region is unpredictable and may become increasingly volatile.
Border with Syria
The ongoing conflict in Syria is having a destabilising effect on the security situation in Lebanon. There is an ongoing possibility that the security environment could deteriorate significantly.
In the past there were a number of incidents of violence throughout Lebanon associated with the conflict in Syria and numerous reports of Lebanese border areas and villages being shelled by gunfire/ammunition which originated in Syria. Armed groups originating from Syria have crossed the border to conduct attacks and kidnappings of Lebanese citizens in border areas. There have also been a number of violent clashes between Lebanese armed forces and extremist groups which have resulted in deaths and injuries.
Border with Israel
There is a UN peacekeeping presence in the area south of Litani River near the border with Israel due to the unresolved border situation and ongoing tensions in the area. Rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel and associated Israeli military action has occurred in the past, primarily against targets in southern Lebanon.
There is a high threat of terrorism throughout Lebanon. On 19 August 2017 the Lebanese Army announced it had launched an operation to remove extremists from North Lebanon. Car bombs, grenade attacks and small improvised bombs are among the methods used in incidents that have taken place. Further attacks are likely in some parts of the country.
The threat is greatest in and around Palestinian refugee camps, in the city of Tripoli and parts of the Bekaa Valley, particularly near the Syrian border. A number of attacks occurred in the southern suburbs of Beirut in November 2015.
On 29 June 2017, 4 attackers exploded suicide belts in a refugee settlement in Arsal. On 31 August 2016, an explosion at the Ksara roundabout near Zahle resulted in one death and 11 injuries. Attacks could be indiscriminate and occur anywhere, at any time. Areas where large numbers of people congregate may be targeted. This includes places frequented by foreigners such as hotels, restaurants, embassies, tourist sites, shopping centres, markets, public transport and places of worship. Targets associated with the Lebanese Government, such as government buildings, Lebanese security forces, politicians and officials could also be targeted. UN peacekeepers and convoys have been targeted in the past.
As the security situation remains volatile, New Zealanders in Lebanon are advised to be vigilant at all times and keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend observing all warnings or alerts issued by the Lebanese authorities, and ensuring your security arrangements are sufficient.
Authorities in Lebanon continue to conduct security operations across Lebanon to prevent attacks. If you notice that a security operation is underway, you should immediately leave the area if it is safe to do so.
In recent years a number of kidnappings for ransom have taken place in Lebanon, some of which have involved foreign nationals.
Kidnappings have taken place in the Bekaa Valley, border areas with Syria and in Beirut and could take place elsewhere in Lebanon. Lebanese authorities have warned that foreigners could be targeted by kidnappers or other militant groups.
New Zealanders throughout Lebanon should keep a low profile, maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate security precautions.
Civil unrest/political tension
The political situation in Lebanon is unpredictable and tensions remain high. Political developments in the region and international events can escalate tensions and result in outbreaks of civil unrest.
Celebratory gunfire into the air is common throughout Lebanon, often in response to speeches and messages by political leaders. This has resulted in casualties in the past, and we advise New Zealanders to stay indoors if they are aware of this occurring.
There are frequent demonstrations, road closures and localised conflicts between rival groups. Large-scale demonstrations are sometimes accompanied by violence and clashes between protestors and security forces, including gunfire, water cannons and tear gas.
In the past, demonstrations and civil unrest in the southern suburbs of Beirut have at times blocked roads close to the international airport. In the event of a deterioration in the security situation, roads and highways can quickly become blocked, and as a result access to the airport can be unavailable for extended periods.
New Zealanders in Lebanon are advised to avoid all political demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings as they could turn violent with little warning. If you are in an area affected by demonstrations or violence, you should find a safe location and remain indoors, heeding any local advice. We recommend you monitor the media and local developments closely and follow any instructions and advice issued by the local authorities.
Violent crime, such as armed robbery and assault, can occur. There have been reports of robberies taking place in shared taxis (also known as service cars), where passengers have been robbed by either the driver or other passengers. If you need to use taxi services in Lebanon, we recommend you pre-book using a recognised taxi company and do not use shared taxis or taxis hailed from the street. New Zealanders should also be aware of the possibility of petty crime, such as pickpocketing or bag-snatching.
There are numerous unexploded landmines in Lebanon. The risk is highest in the south of the country, particularly south of the Litani River. We recommend you remain on well-used roads and paths, as mined areas are not always clearly marked.
General travel advice
It is recommended that New Zealanders travelling to Lebanon familiarise themselves with local laws and customs. Homosexual acts are illegal in Lebanon and photography of all military installations, security officials and some other government buildings and officials is prohibited and can lead to arrest.
We recommend ensuring your travel documents are kept up to date and are easily accessible, should there be a deterioration to the security situation requiring your departure from the country.
New Zealanders in Lebanon should carry photo ID with them at all times and present it to local security forces when asked, as is required by Lebanese law.
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Lebanon to avoid offending local sensitivities.
We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Lebanon should consider.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Lebanon should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Lebanon are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The New Zealand Embassy Cairo, Egypt is accredited to Lebanon
Street Address 8th floor, North Tower, Nile City building, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac, Cairo, Egypt Telephone +202 2461 6000 Fax +202 2461 6099 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site www.nzembassy.com/egypt Hours Sun-Weds 0900-1500 hrs, Thurs 0900-1330 hrs Note In an emergency or if you require urgent assistance, please call the Embassy on +202 2461 6000. Outside of business hours you will be redirected to an after-hours duty service.
See our regional advice for the Middle East
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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Egypt
8th floor, North Tower, Nile City building, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac, Cairo, Egypt
Telephone: +202 2461 6000
Fax: +202 2461 6099
Hours: Sun-Weds 0900-1500 hrs, Thurs 0900-1330 hrs