Officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) are enforcing government’s mandate for residents to wear masks in public places.The enforcement process was observed along the congested Slipway and Waterside bridges that lead to central Monrovia.
Several persons without nose masks were stopped and asked to return to their respective homes.At least seven persons, who resisted Police restriction not to cross into Monrovia without nose mask, where taken to the Water Street Police depot for questioning.
This reporter who witnessed the interrogation process at the depot reveals that most of the violators explain they decided not to wear nose masks of lack of money to buy one.Marie Togba, a female, said she was traveling to West Point Township to collect some money from her grandmother to buy food for her grandchildren when Police invited her.
Marie explains that she did not listen to the government’s pronouncement, ordering everyone to wear nose mask in public, adding that she regretted the situation.Another violator, Mohammed Massallay, also invited for questioning argues he expects the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Ministry of Health to distribute nose masks to everyone residing in the country, noting that most Liberians live in extreme poverty.
Locally-made and imported masks are sold at the retail price of 50 Liberian dollars.However, Mohammed says he was prepared to purchase a nose mask but wonders how many Liberians are financially prepared to buy nose masks for their entire household in the face of rising prices of food and other essential items.
He then begged the police to pardon him and permit him to buy a nose mask, regretting his decision not to wear one as unfortunate.Meanwhile, a police source told this paper at the end of the process, that those without nose mask were compelled to buy nose masks, who others who could not afford to buy same for their protection were escorted back to where they came from.
Last week, the Ministry of Health (MOH) pronounced that all those going to public places should wear nose mask as of Monday, 27 April to stop the spread of the deadly Corona Virus which has killed 16 people here with total confirmed cases at 133, according to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia.
At least 34 health workers who are in the frontline combating the Corona virus have contracted the deadly pandemic.Health authorities in Monrovia recently discharged 25 persons after their test results proved negative of the virus.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne