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Works Minister denies close contact

-with infected deputy

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Liberia’s Minister of Public Works Mobotu Vlah Nyenpan, currently in self-quarantine at his residence in Barnesville, outskirt of Somalia Drive has denied ever coming in contact with one of his deputy ministers James Reynolds, who has tested positive of the COVID-19.

Speaking in a rather shrew voice Monday to Prime FM via mobile phone, Minister Nyenpan who had not reported for work in about two weeks however disclosed Mr. Reynolds arrived in Monrovia on the 11th but couldn’t recollect which month from an official abroad.

He had called in to the live talk show after reports that health authorities quarantine the Head Pastor of the City of Light Church of God, Bishop John Kunkun, where Deputy Minister Reynolds worships.

Health authorities suspect Bishop Kunkun may have come in close contact with Reynolds, who is already in quarantine.There have been unauthenticated reports that Minister Nyenpan returned from Sweden recently and might be a suspected COVID-19 carrier, but the Minister denied ever traveling abroad this year.

According to him, his last official travel out of Liberia was in September 2019, as a member of President George MannehWeah’s official delegation to the African Summit in Japan.
However, news that Minister Nyenpan is suffering from cold and fever, as indicated by him being in self-quarantine, raises public concern here.

He was poised to face series of questions during the talk show, including reports that he held a big party recently at his residence to celebrate his birthday. The party was reportedly attended by several senior government officials, among them Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, but Minister Nyenpan appeared uncomfortable with the line of questioning and ended the call abruptly.

Officials here seem unwilling to report for quarantine after an official trip abroad, preferring to self-quarantine for fear of stigmatization. Story by Jonathan Browne

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