With the fall in new infections from the Ebola virus in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has announced here that she would not seek an extension of the State of Emergency, “having consulted relevant stakeholders” and “the National Health Team and partners.”
But the Liberian leader has extended the curfew imposed to midnight, despite her decision not to seek an extension of the State of Emergency.
President Sirleaf says until Liberia can start the progressive countdown of 21 days, and the national goal of zero-new-cases by Christmas is achieved across the country, “we will keep many of the previous measures in place with appropriate adjustments, consistent with the progress in our fight.”
“I have informed the leadership of the National Legislature that I will not seek an extension to the State of Emergency. This is not because the fight against Ebola is over,” she however warned.
President Sirleaf said in a nationwide address on Wednesday, November 13 that it was “because in our estimation, and that of those with whom we have consulted, the progress we have witnessed … have combined to re-position our efforts to sustain the fight against the virus until it is finally eradicated from our country.”
As Ebola struck Liberia’s weak health system, the government declared a State of Emergency and imposed night time curfew that has been in place for 90 days, while schools and borders were declared closed with restriction on public gatherings.
“…Except those in proximity to hotspots, weekly and border markets are open and school authorities upon immediate passage of the budget will organize young people in communities to start the renovation and cleanup of school facilities in preparation for the opening at a time that will be decided by the progress that we make in this fight,” she added.
The President said the disease undermined Liberia’s normal economic, social, cultural and political activities, adding that “many of our fellow citizens became infected and died; many more died of treatable illnesses as hospitals were shut down and beds were insufficient to treat the infected.”
The Liberian leader has notwithstanding acknowledged that the progress made here would have been impossible without the resilient response … by all citizens, especially health care workers.
She recalled that in “those dark hours, they stood and fought back,” which is inclusive of the active identification of cases to improve contact tracing, and the proper management of the outbreak through an Incident Management System to the social mobilization of communities and the global mobilization of resources, among others.
“Notwithstanding these gains, a number of our compatriots are still lying in ETUs, hot-spots are springing up in rural areas, and many of our compatriots are still dying of Ebola,” she reminded.
She maintained that Liberia cannot be declared Ebola free until neighboring countries that are also struck by the disease are also freed, saying, “This means that we cannot let down our guard nor can we afford to reduce our vigilance.”
“Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the curfew is extended to midnight, except those in proximity to hotspots, weekly and border markets are open,” she said.