Liberia Fights New COVID-19 Stain -Govt Erects Protocol Checkpoint

President George M. Weah, working with the Liberian Legislature, wasted no time in 2020 to declared a state of emergency highlighting the debilitating effects of the Coronavirus pandemic that was already posing global epidemiological aftereffects. A little over a year down the line, Liberia, despite being hailed globally as a giant in the fight to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, is accordingly faced with a second surge of the deadly virus, which has forced the Liberian authorities to come down with some tough measures aimed at mitigating spread of a new strain of Corona, as The Analyst reports.

According to President Weah’s proclamation to his people on June 18, 2021, there are already confirmed 2,862 cases of the Covid-19 virus, with 95 confirmed deaths and 12 suspected.

“However, it is alarming to note that since the Third Wave began, from the 16th of May, to Tuesday, June 15, there has been a peak of 256 cases. The Minister informed the Cabinet that hospitals are presently full with people experiencing breathing difficulties, and that there are 50 patients in the treatment unit, 33 of whom are severely ill. Meanwhile, there are only 67,437 persons in Liberia who have taken one dose of the vaccine,” President Weah said, noting that he had already mandated the Ministers of Health and Justice to immediately formulate new regulations and protocols that will assist in curbing the spread of this deadly disease.

 Aftermath Actions

The Ministry of Health, working in line with President Weah’s mandate, has therefore announced the following actions, in line with the revised set of National COVID-19 Guidelines pursuant to Chapter 14 of the Public Health Law of Liberia, in the consequence of increasing cases of coronavirus disease in Liberia, and given the statistics on the current spread of the virus in the communities, its modes of transmission, and prevention, that among other things, passengers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Liberia.

Health Protocols

Apart from the banning of passengers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, due to the new strain of Covid-19 that is said to emanate from that region, the government of Liberian, has mandated all citizens and residents with the bailiwick of the Republic to wear masks at all times in public; ensure social physical distancing of a minimum of three feet from each other; and wash hand with soap and clean water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), under Covid positive persons and contacts, all persons who tested positive for COVID-19 and their contacts are required to comply with health authorities and related health rules such as keeping phone line open, self-quarantine, submit to quarantine or observation measures and adhere to medical advice.

Government offices are also required to reduce staff by 50 percent while others work from home.

The government’s regulation also states that all institutions of learning, places of worship shall remain open but shall strictly follow the health protocols; and that large gatherings of more than 20 persons including parties, weddings, vigils/wakes, funerals are disallowed.

“Gatherings involving up to 20 persons are permitted provided the attendees follow the health protocols listed in count 2…” the MoH said, adding that marketers, street sellers and buyers are required to abide by the health protocols.

Service Centers

According to the Government of Liberia, all sporting events are allowed but only in empty stadiums, without spectators; while restaurants and cook shops shall remain open provided persons and staff in attendance follow the health protocols.

In accordance, barber shops, lodges and beauty salons and persons and staff in attendance shall follow the health protocols listed in count 2; while banks shall only allow 10 persons at a time in the service areas and those outside the banks shall keep a distance of at least three feet apart from each other while awaiting service, in line with all health protocols.

“All supermarkets and large stores must insist on mask wearing and allow only 20 customers at a time, while those customers observe social distancing by being always minimum three feet apart as well, as they await their turn to be served,” the MoH said.

As regards Public transport, the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health, mandates taxis to carry no more than three passengers in the back and one passenger in the front.

“Kehkehs (tricycles) shall carry only two passengers in the back and no passenger in the front, motor bikes shall carry only one passenger. All drier/riders and passengers shall follow the protocols listed under count 2. Compulsory mask wearing is hereby imposed in all public transports,” the MOH stated.

Ports of Entry

According to the Liberian government, everyone making use of the country’s port of entry should be made aware that the transportation of dead bodies of confirmed Covid-19 persons in or and out of Liberia is prohibited during this emergency.

“All airlines and funeral homes are advised to take note of this and all other existing health protocols,” the MoH stated clearly, while indicating that all health facilities, health institutions and pharmacies will remain open for routine services, with social distancing practices; and that all safety rules and procedures at hospitals and all facilities shall be strictly adhered to.

Citizens’ Duties

According to Health Minister Jallah, community dwellers are required to report people who show signs and symptoms of the coronavirus such as coughing, fever, difficulty in breathing in the communities to dangers relevant health and security authorities. “Please call 4455,” she begged.

Violations

The Government of Liberia has imposed a fine of US$200.00 to violators of Covid-19 regulations or imprisonment not exceeding thirty days, or both such fine and imprisonment.

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