Report of the first positive case of coronavirus at the Legislature comes days after Senators Oscar Cooper of Margibi County and H. Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County raised concerns and requested that the National Response Team appear before Senate plenary and explain the national strategy on the handling of the coronavirus. The Ministries of Health, Justice, and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia and the National Response Team were expected to appear before the Senate yesterday (June 17).
Senator Cooper requested the Liberian Senate to invite institutions responsible to handle the situation of the Coronavirus pandemic, to appear before that body and explain “what really is the national strategy towards this coronavirus, this is what I am asking for.”
Speaking during Wednesday, June 10, 2020 sitting, Senator Cooper warned that the country is loosing sight of the the coronavirus disease.
“Pro Temp and fellow colleagues, I think there is a need to invite the National Response Team here to explain to us what they are doing now with the national response strategy. I am concerned that the rate of this disease is increasing, I think we need to get a little more serious; we need to know from those responsible for the response to come and brief us.”
The outspoken Senator argued that the National Response Team cannot given the increase in infection rates, relax the lockdown. “We should be very careful, Pro Temp, because this thing is exponential in South America, is giving Brazil a lot of trouble, people are dying in numbers. We should not underestimate this virus; Liberians are going about their business, not wearing mask, observing the social distances at six feet; I think we are letting our guards down and letting our people down.”
“If this disease gets to where it becomes exponential”, Senator Cooper warned, “we will have serious problem with our weak health system in this country. So I want the professionals, the experts to come and explain to us what really is the national strategy towards this coronavirus.”
Following information that the Assistant Secretary of the Senate tested positive of the Coronavirus, the Leadership of the Liberian Senate announced the suspension of its bi-weekly sittings effective June 16, 2020 for a period of one week. The period of suspended sitting, according to the Senate Secretariat, will be used to observe the situation.
The President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Albert Tugbe Chie, in an WhatsApp conversation with this paper’s Legislative reporter yesterday, confirmed Madam Massaquoi’s coronavirus positive test story.
The President Pro Tempore Chie said the President of the Senate, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, the Leadership and Members of the Senate are in deep sorrow as a result of her situation and are in daily prayers and wishing her speedy recovery.
According to the Secretariat of the Senate, Mrs. Jannave Verdier-Massaquoi is currently undergoing treatment at the 14 Military Hospital on the Robert International Airport Highway.
The Director of Press at the Senate Jarlawah A. Tonpo told the Daily Observer that Assistant Secretary Massaquoi “is lively in speech, hopeful in prayer and trusting God as a Deaconess to recover soon.”
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports say the Secretary of the Senate, J. Nanborlor F. Singbeh is observing self-quarantine at home apparently due to to his proximity to Madam Massaquoi.
Secretary Singbeh, who could not be reached by our reporter through cellphone or text, has meanwhile, reportedly disclosed that the Senate Secretariat will be closed for two weeks beginning June 16, 2020; and that determination to either resume session next week will be made over the weekend.
The report of Madam Massaquoi’s positive test of the coronavirus virus for a prominent elected employee of the First Branch of the Government. Both Secretary Singbeh and Assistant Massaquoi were re-elected to their various posts during the ushering in of the 54th Senate and Legislature in January, 2018.