President George Weah has banned all non-essential travels by government officials, and all travels to and from countries reporting over 200 cases of coronavirus, as well as spending his nationwide tour as the country step up efforts to prevent COVID-19 from spreading here.
Mr. Weah has subsequentlygranted paid leaves to all non-essential government employeesand ordered the Civil Service Agency (CSA) to announce the roster of those in this category.
He has also announced that all offices, businesses, schools, churches, and places of public gatherings to provide hand washing facilities at their entrances.
The President’s announced these measures Monday March 16, when the country recorded its first confirmed case of the deadly coronavirus which has claimed the life of over 3000 people worldwide with nearly 200, 000 infections globally.
The country’s first positive coronavirus patient, Dr. Nathaniel Blama, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Executive Director, returned to the country Friday night, 13 March from Switzerland. It is alleged that he that he “chose not to follow the airport health protocols” instituted in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic.
This allegation prompted Mr. Weah to announce the patient’s indefinite suspension as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Executive Director, while assuring the public that an intensive tracing is underway to identify and est all persons with whom Mr. Blama came into contact.
Dr. Blamais currently seeking medical attention at the Redemption Hospital on Bushrod Island,
“The spread of this virus represents the greatest threat to the health and well – being of the people of Liberia since the Ebola epidemic suffered by our country from 2014 to 2016,” President says.
He said government has and is still taking every precaution and action to protect the country’s borders and ports of entry.
Along with several other officials of government travelling on the same flight, President Weah says Mr. Blama chose not to be quarantined in keeping with the health protocols that were in place at the airport.
Following the President’s address, the EPA explains through a social media post which has been trending here, claiming that the president was probably misinformed and it is the EPA’s hope that the correct information will be put out there.
“Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr. went through the regular screening at the RIA along with other Government officials to be identified,” the post says.
The social media post which is released under the authority of EPA Media and Communication Specialist Danise Love Dennis continues that Mr. Blama voluntarily requested additional testing, knowing he was from Switzerland, adding that the test came positive and he went into self -quarantine and later drove himself to a government quarantine center.
“The information given to the President is incorrect. Dr. Blama is law abiding and if he voluntarily not asked for additional testing, no one would have known he’s positive,” the EPA argues.
It says Mr. Blama informed his entire staff about the result, adding that it is important to note that he drove himself to the treatment center.
The EPA indicates that photos circulated [were] shared by Mr. Blama to tell his staffs that he’s positive.
In another post, the EPA explains that Mr. Blama had just returned from Switzerland on a government mission and had asked to be tested fully after the regular screening at RIA.
It says the test confirmed positive, and that he had allegedly quarantined since and was cooperating with health authorities, adding that Mr. Blama never got in contact with any of EPA staff.By Winston W. Parley