The opposition Liberty Party has expressed deep concerns over the confirmation of a case of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Liberia. “As a country that prides itself in hospitality, free trade and respect for international protocols, the current global trend of the virus, and its mode of transmission made it almost inevitable that it would have eventually reached our borders. However, we did not envisage that COVID-19 would make its way into our population in a manner that was clearly preventable,” lamented the LP in a March 16 press release.
The LP noted that confirmation from President Weah that the virus made its way into the population through a Senior Official of Government who made it a “choice” not to be tested and quarantined in keeping with prevailing protocols at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) is disturbing to say the least.
“Liberty Parry is dismayed by the fact that the rule to have all travelers coming into Liberia from COVID-19 affected nations tested and quarantined would be subjected to arbitrary and individualized compliance. As we were told by the President, MR. Nathaniel Blamah, the Executive Director of the EPA on Friday entered the country from Switzerland, a nation hit by COVID -19 and was allowed to make a choice on whether or not he wanted to adhere to emergency safety measures at the RIA. This shocking information raises several questions, including the number of persons Mr. Blamah had possibly interacted with and infected before his health condition became publicized; the effectiveness of the emergency protocols at the RIA; the number of other individuals who have been allowed to evade emergency health protocols at the RIA and who may be freely moving about in our country,” the release stated.
Continuing, the Liberty Party commended the government for its efforts thus far in combating the deadly virus, including its decision to have a partial and temporary shutdown of certain sectors of the country.
The LP however implored government to, with immediate effect, revisit safety measures at the RIA and all Border Points of entry to ensure that they are effective; reprimand all those responsible for allowing Mr. Blamah to evade the standing health emergency protocols at the RIA as a means of deterring a recurrence of such corrupt and unpatriotic attitude; solicit the efforts of the paramilitary in effectuating a mandatory tracing of everyone with whom Mr. Blamah has had physical contact since his return to the country and ensure that they are quarantined; provide special emergency support to the press, health institutions, civil society organizations and local government institutions to begin a nationwide awareness and safety campaign; ensure the closure of schools for a period of fourteen days consistent with the maximum incubation period of the virus to observe the trend of the current case; regulate attendance at all public places and ensure that traditional leaders, religious leaders and local government structures are deeply involved with the awareness processes.
“We call on everyone within our country and those entering to adhere to all emergency health and safety measures that are being provided by the government and the International Community. Throughout the history of our country, we have proven to be a resilient and courageous people. Let’s make it our individual and collective duty to overcome COVID-19 more spectacularly and with zero fatality,” declared the LP release signed by its deputy Secretary General for Press and Public Affairs, Mr. Kla-Edward Toomey, II.