Regulations to Roll Back COVID-19 -As Govt. Declares Health Emergency

For the first time since the outbreak of the global Coronavirus pandemic, the Liberian Government last Saturday declared a National Health Emergency for Montserrado and Margibi Counties. The Ministry of Health has announced regulations to avert further spread of the virus.

A statement by the government declaring the National Health Emergency through the Ministry of Health was issued in an effort to keep the nation safe and avert the spread of the corona virus.

“In keeping with Title 33. Chapter 14 of the Liberian Code of Laws revised, knowns as the Public Health Law, The Minister of Health has designated Montserrado and Margibi Counties as affected areas, in which the following rules and regulations will apply immediately and remain in effect for the next 21 days,” the statement said.

Amongst regulations issued are the closure of all school, nightclubs, Casinos, Betting Centers, Cinemas, Video Clubs and Entertainment Centers are hereby closed, all Beaches, Both Private and Public are hereby ordered closed as well as the shutting down of churches, mosques, religious centers and other places of worship.

“All schools (Public and Private), Universities, Colleges, Computer School and other institutions of learning are hereby ordered closed,” the statement indicated; said further “All Bars, Night Clubs, Casinos, Betting Centers, Cinemas, Video Clubs and Entertainment Centers…, all Beaches, Both Private and Public…, as well as Churches, Mosques, Religious Centers and other places of Worship are hereby ordered closed,” the Health Minister said in the statement.

According to the public health statement by the government, which is meant to define the conduct of residents of the affected counties, large gathering to include sporting activities, parties of more than 10 people are hereby ordered banned, while wedding and funerals will be allowed with no more than 10 people in attendance and they should keep a distance of six feet apart from each other at all times.

“Restaurant shall only allow five customers at a time, with all customers keeping a distance of six feet apart from each other at all times,” the Health Minister ordered. Saying takeaways are encouraged, Minister Jallah directed that cook shops shall only allow five customers at a time, with all customers keeping a distance of six feet from each other at all times. Takeaways are encouraged.

Furthermore, the Minister of Health, in the government’s declaration of emergency for the two counties, said barber shops herein and beauty salons are hereby ordered closed. “All persons in the affected areas are to use the comfort and safety of their homes to perform personal services,” she said.

Banks, she asserted, should only allow five people at a time into service areas and those outside the bank should keep a distance of six feet apart from each other while awaiting service.

Concerning public transportation, the Health Ministry boss said taxi should carry no more than two passengers in the back, and one passengers in the front; tricycles, otherwise referred to as “KehKehs’ should carry only two passengers in the back and the driver alone in the front; while motorbikes referred to as “Pempems” should carry only one passenger.

The public health regulations did not stop to road transport; she also includes air transport. “Except for cargo, chartered and special flights, all commercial flights are hereby ordered suspended as of Monday March 23rd at 11:59 PM. The Ministry of Transport and the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority will issue the appropriate notices henceforth.”

Dr. Jallah further directed that all supermarkets and large stores will allow only 10 customers at a time, while observing a six feet distance apart from each other at all times, and that those outside shall remain outside and stand six feet apart from each other while awaiting their turn to be served. “All businesses are required to find innovative ways of promoting social distancing,” she added.

All health facilities and health institutions, including pharmacies will remain for routine services, with social distancing practices and all safety rules and procedures at hospitals and all facilities shall be strictly adhered to, the Health Minister emphasized.

She averred that the Incident Management Team (IMT) will work along with the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) to implement the requisite protocols for all markets during this period. Meanwhile all residents and marketers are required to practice social distancing.

Restrictions on the movement of people in and out of the affected areas is to be enforced as she directed that all travels in and outside the Montserrado and Margibi areas are discouraged, ordering that “Absolutely, no street selling by both adults and children during this period.”

She said the Health regulations include mandatory hand washing with soap and clean water, she ordered should be practiced at homes and all establishment, public or private, advising all community dwellers to report people who show signs and symptoms of the Coronavirus such as. (Coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing in their communities to relevant health and security authorities or call (4455).

Noting that the Ministry of Justice, as head of the Joint Security, shall enforce these rules without prejudice, the Health Minister informs that public that official information and communication on the COVID-19 virus shall only be announced by the MOH/NPHIL and MICAT; and therefore called on all citizens, residents and visitors are required to abide by these rules.

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