The chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Peter Coleman has told the Liberian Senate that there will be high risk of COVID-19 transmission if Churches were to open as ordered by President George Manneh Weah.
Updating the Liberian Senate on the [work] of the COVID-19 Steering Committee Wednesday, 13 May, Sen. Coleman informed his colleagues that his committee has met with some church leaders and found that they are afraid of reopening their churches at this time to avoid exposing their members to the virus.
President Weah on Friday, 8 May proposed that Churches, Mosques and worship centers consider operating 25 percent of the regular worship-hour occupancy for each service beginning Sunday, 17 May, with Muslims permitted to begin operating in their Mosques on 8 May.
While Mr. Weah permits Churches, Mosques and worship centers to reopen, coronavirus cases are still increasing daily, with 215 total cases recorded by the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) as of 13 May, out of which 20 victims have died and 105 others have recovered, leaving 90 confirmed active cases.
In an apparent effort to discourage the idea of reopening churches at this time of the health crisis, Sen. Coleman says since Liberia’s neighboring countries like Ghana and other African countries lifted their lockdown, their cases have increased.
He details that Liberia has a population that is living in denial and also not adhering to the health measures, cautioning that the opening of churches need to be looked at carefully. Coleman believes that the decision to open churches was a political decision that the president was under pressure to make.
According to Sen. Dr Coleman, the Covid – 19 Steering Committee is divided into pillars, and one of those pillars is the case management, adding that it requires contact tracing. Sen. Coleman reveals that since the response started, they have admitted 152 persons at the 14th Military Hospital which has 150 beds capacity, saying 110 of those admitted there for the virus have been discharged.
At the time of giving his update, Coleman says 51 patients were admitted at the 14th Military Hospital, saying only one death has occurred there from the time the steering committee was established.
At the quarantine center, Sen. Coleman continues that there are 78 patients that are being observed, adding that recently the Liberian Government received an offer of a 56 – bed hospital from the World Lebanese Culture Union of Liberia to boost the case management here.
In his update, Coleman notes that Liberia had a total of 213 confirmed cases as of 11 May, out of which Montserrado had 185 cases; Margibi had 13 cases; Nimba had 6 cases; Gbarpolu had 5 cases; Maryland had 1; Sinoe had 1 case and Grand Kru had 1 case.Meanwhile, Sen Coleman discloses that the recovery rate here is 46.6%, boasting that it is the highest in the African region. He states that the effectiveness of the treatment center results to the number of recoveries seen here.
By Ethel A Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley