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Lockdown the country

-Senators propose

Lockdown the country, River Gee County Senator Jonathan Boy Charles Sogbie and Senator Nyonblee Karnga – Lawrence, opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) National Chairperson, and Grand Bassa County Senator, called on President George Manneh Weah. They said the move is necessary to contain the rapid spread of the Coronavirus Disease.

In her Facebook post over the weekend, Senator Karnga – Lawrence urged citizens to buy essential food items in preparation for a possible lockdown, stressing that since the newest hit of the virus, there are more deaths in recent times than ever in the past months.

“Prepare your families for a lockdown in a day or two, get food that is not perishable (rice, farina, green plantain, eddoes, sugar, milk, oil, sardines, luncheon meat, butter, cornmeal, oaths) do anything to stay home,” she said.

“Let’s prevent!! Stop playing politics with deadly virus. The virus does not discriminate, more death news today again we care more about making the right decision than the popular one, lockdown and control the spread,” the post indicated.

For his part, Senator Sogbie said the country, especially counties that are not yet hit by the Coronavirus, should be locked down to avoid the continuous spread of the virus.

He lamented that there are more deaths in the country, though there is no statistical evidence to link those deaths to the virus. He however said the possibility of those deaths being COVID-19 is not too far.

According to Sogbie, because of the urgency of the deadly virus, the Senate has accepted the proposal of US$2 million to be included in the draft national budget for the fight against the virus.

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Though the Ministry of Health did not provide details of how the money should be spent, Sogbie noted that the monetary value makes sense, adding that nothing is important than life and the government is under an absolute obligation to protect lives and properties.

He continued that through his county, River Gee has not been hit, the virus is conventional and it requires his attention and effort to break the spread of the virus.

“I wrote the plenary of the Liberian Senate requesting for a total lockdown of the country, especially counties that are not being hit. Based on the communication, the Ministry of Health was given an additional mandate to redesign its strategies on [how to] combat the virus. The ministry is looking [into] the concern and soon we expect progress in that direction,” he said.

But former Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek Matthew Piah, currently residing in the United States, says lockdown is not a medical solution in the fight against coronavirus here, suggesting instead, the need for millions of testing kits, isolation, vaccination of people, providing treatments and reducing crowds at events, among others.

“… Lockdown is not a medical solution to a medical crisis. It’s a kind of quick-fix situation that you envisage, and since people also learn by experience, if I should count on the experience of the U.S., I wouldn’t opt well for lockdown,” Mr. Piah said on Prime FM Monday, 28 June from the U.S.

“What has been scientifically proven since this medical situation is, the real solution is you, test people, you isolate people, you treat people and then you protect people, that’s when the vaccination comes in,” Mr. Piah added.

Mr. Piah who served during former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s administration as Presidential Press Secretary when Ebola struck Liberia, has called on citizens here to take the coronavirus matter into their own hands while the government does the needful so that the virus can be defeated.

“When we defeated Ebola, it was because the people chose life over death; it was the communities that took the lead, that took the charge, even though, guided by their leaders. The same is required here,” he said

Giving an example about America where he is currently based, Mr. Piah recalled that when the Coronavirus started there, the tough process was instituted with the thought that lockdown was the solution.

According to him, many states moved into lockdown, and yet 600,000 people died and 33 million people got infected because “lockdown is not a medical solution.”

Piah’s caution against a lockdown comes at a time when there are mixed views from the public over what should be the measures in the wake of the raging third wave of the coronavirus in Liberia.

Some think schools should be closed, lockdown imposed and the military be deployed in addition to the recent anti – Covid – 19 measures instituted by the Ministry of Health here.

According to Mr. Piah, schools should be closed and students evaluated based on their performances from the first semester to determine whether they can be promoted or not, while preparation is being done regarding vaccination and curtailing the current surge ahead of opening the next school year.

However, Mr. Piah argued that the virus is already in the communities, pondering if during a lockdown somebody will remain in their home for 24 hours a day and if there won’t be movement within the communities that can still further the spread of the virus.

“So those are the things you can do when you don’t have the scientific solution which is more testing, isolation, treatment, eventually protection through the vaccination. If you don’t have that, you try to find means to do it. But does it require a lockdown to do so? I don’t think so,” he noted.-By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor & Winston W. Parley

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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