PRESIDENT GEORGE MANNEH WEAH is considering re-opening churches, mosques and perhaps schools after the country observed one month State of Emergency and 14 days lockdown with no progress in the ongoing COVID-19 fight.
ADHERING TO APPARENT pressure from religious leaders, President Weah has ordered Churches, Mosques and other worship centers in the country to resume activities beginning Sunday, May 17, but with 25 percent regular worship-hour occupancy for social distancing and other health protocols.
BUT WE ARE highly disappointed that one month and 14 days after the President declared a State of Emergency and lockdown the government cannot provide any progress in terms of reduction in confirmed and active cases and number of death.
WITH ONE MORE month to go under the State of Emergency, President Weah has extended the lockdown by another 14 days, rallying citizens and residents to observe all health protocols. But what other strategies does the government have to containing the rapid spread of the virus which started with an index case on March 16, 2020 imported from Switzerland to nearly 200 cases today and 20 deaths?
WE HAVE THOUGHT that both the lockdown and the State of Emergency were intended to give health authorities the opportunity to carry out vigorous testing among the population to prevent the virus from spreading. But from initially two affected counties (Montserrado and Margibi) COVID-19 has attacked a total of eight (8) counties with the two index counties topping the list of infections.
THE MOST UNFORTUNATE situation about our fight is that officials, doctors and nurses are contracting the virus with the Ministers of Information and Justice currently in quarantine at the 14 Military Hospital after the death of the head of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency Marcus Soko from the virus.
“ALL OF WHAT this government, including those charged with the responsibility to enforce lockdown and health protocols, is doing is in the direct interest of the people; it is all in the interest of protecting and saving lives; it doesn’t give undue advantage to some citizens over others but is intended to ensure that we are on course with measures that all other countries and peoples are taking to defeat the pandemic”, President Weah argued when spoke on a local radio station recently in Monrovia.
IT IS NOT just about lockdown and state of emergency. Ghana also observed lockdown, but the Ghanaian government went further in executing street testing to identify possible contacts in the public, which the government of Liberia is not doing. Yes, we are aware of a testing center at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, but there is no strategy in place to attract citizens for voluntary testing.
UNLESS THE GOVERNMENT and health officials return to the drawing board to assess their performance in the first one month and 14 days, the coming one month and 14 days could see the worst case scenario of our COVID-19 fight because Liberia seems to be losing the fight.
PRESIDENT WEAH SHOULD realize that the oath to protect lives and property requires practical actions on the ground, not just awareness by music production.