Lebanon’s only international airport has reopened after being closed for more than three months.
For now, Beirut’s airport is operating at 10% of its normal capacity. Passengers will be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival and be required to quarantine at home if they have the disease.
While Lebanon has largely avoided the worst of the coronavirus, the lockdown has hastened the country’s economic collapse.
The Lebanese currency has lost 80% of its value in recent months; people’s savings in the banks have been wiped out; and a growing number of Lebanese are unable to put food in the table.
The government is in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, but any bailout will involve painful economic reforms that the country’s sectarian leaders – for now, anyway – do not appear to be willing to make.
So instead despair is setting in across Lebanon – and many now fear growing social unrest and a brain drain from the country on the scale last seen during its civil war.