President George Manneh Weah says the economy here and the people are still severely affected by the negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, saying it has caused a drastic downturn in business activity and a consequent decline in revenue generation.
In a special statement delivered during observance of Liberia’s 173rd Independence Day Monday, 27 July, Mr. Weah said this has also resulted in food shortages, rising inflation and negative projections of gross domestic product (GDP) growth, among others.
“There is no doubt that this unfamiliar, deadly, and invisible enemy has changed our lives in no small manner, and will continue to have a negative impact on our well-being and prospects for growth and prosperity in the years to come,” he says.
Due to the challenges posed by the health crisis here, Mr. Weah says the country has commemorated its 173rd Anniversary without the usual pomp and pageantry, but in a somber and sober manner.
“We should all take this occasion as an opportunity to ponder and to reflect upon a realistic, sensible, and united approach to the crisis that we face at this time as a Nation and a People,” he pleads with citizens.
He notes that this plague continues unchecked, spreading its destructive path to every corner of the globe, to the extent that it has overwhelmed the sophisticated public health systems of many advanced countries, and threatens to completely collapse the already fragile health systems of less developed countries.
According to President Weah, Liberia has not been spared the ravishes of this deadly disease. However, he says due to Liberians’ previous experience with the Ebola epidemic and their careful and professional management of the coronavirus, they have been able to keep their numbers of infected persons and deaths relatively low.
“We declared and enforced appropriate health regulations at the onset of this pestilence, including quarantines, contact tracing and tracking, testing, social distancing, and the washing of hands and wearing of masks. These were later reinforced by the declaration of a State of Emergency and carefully calibrated curfews,” he recalls.
Over time, he says these measures have resulted in sufficiently satisfactory results to have encouraged the government here to gradually adjust the curfews and recently lift them altogether.
“We have also lifted the State of Emergency, although the country remains under the vigilance of very stringent health emergency regulations,” he says. President Weah says he is sure that Liberians have all been inspired by the powerful and eloquent oration from the Orator of the day, the Rev. Dr. Simeon L. Dunbar.
“His analysis was constructive, his message was instructive and encouraging, and his conclusions and recommendations give us hope that if we stand together as one united people, with focus, discipline, and determination, we will not be defeated by this deadly disease. Thank you, Rev. Dr. Dunbar,” President Weah says.
He calls on citizens to put their differences aside, whether they be political, religious, or social, and join together to fight this deadly disease, saying: “We are one people, who pledge allegiance to the same flag.”
“We offer our deepest sympathy to the families of those who have lost their lives to COVID-19, and to all those who remain afflicted by the disease, we wish them a full and speedy recovery,” Mr. Weah continues.
He assures that his administration will continue to exert every effort to help mitigate the impact of this pandemic on the people here, saying the healthcare practitioners have done a remarkable job to keep the disease under control so far, and will continue to do so, even in the face of rising numbers.
“But it is heartwarming to see that the number of survivors is increasing, which is a testament to the enormous sacrifices of healthcare workers. We cannot thank them enough. They are our heroes!” he adds.
President Weah says under his instructions, healthcare workers will do all in their powers, with the backing of law enforcement agencies, to ensure strict compliance with the protocols meant to curtail the spread of the disease. “These measures apply to all, regardless of status. We must stand together and take responsible actions that protect ourselves and our loved ones,” he concludes.
By Winston W. Parley