Dr. Fallah Highlights New Measures Against Potential Coronavirus Outbreak in Liberia

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Dr. Fallah, Atty. Tweah of UL Relations and former Brown taking questions from students.

-Foresees Economic Shock for Africa, as former Information Minister Brown calls for more public awareness ahead of any outbreak

The acting Director-General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), Dr. Mosoka Fallah, has named several measures instituted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and partners ahead of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Dr. Fallah said all flights from the British Airways have stopped flying, stating “if countries that have a high level of sophistication can begin to take stringent measures, maybe they are beginning to see something that Liberia is not seeing, or telling “us to wake up and prepare ourselves.”

Dr. Fallah said he foresees economic shock in Africa, besides the human deaths because the closing of the China market that is stock by 10 percent of foreigners/business people, as the price of oil has fallen. “Most of us in Africa go to China for businesses. Liberia has 645 students studying in China and some are in the heat of the outbreak,” Dr. Fallah said.

He said “there is an exponential increase in the number of people that are getting affected. First, the transmission was five hundred by day and later moved to one thousand by day, two thousand by day and now increasing three thousand every day.”

“Today, we have learned to carry out airport screening. We have men posted at various airports and seaports. Everyone coming to Liberia will be screened. We have also developed a form that gives or provides more details of people coming into the country. Again, we have created a quarantined center through the support of the security sector,” Dr. Fallah said.

According to him, the new holding place called Precautionary Observation Center created to keep surveillance on people from the high-risk zone for 14 days, and the government takes responsibility to provide food for “those quarantined and the center has the capacity of taking at least 200 persons.”

He said the center has 97 persons currently, indicating that “we are forced to reach that because we thought people will be responsible enough to come and be seen by health workers.” Yesterday’s event was held under the theme: “How Prepared is Liberia in The Face of the Global Coronavirus Outbreak.?”

He said “we have written an advisory for all Liberians going to Freetown to stop. Communication has been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stop the issuance of laisse passer because if we enhance the screening, people will want to use it.”

He said the United States Government has taken 193 diplomats and moved them to a military base for 14 days and has also stated that “if you are a foreigner and transited in China, you will not go to America. If you are an American citizen that transited in China, you will be quarantined. Also, 100 students from Preset University in the U. S. who left the country have been quarantined upon their returned.”

According to him, India has banned the export of any masks, in preparation of an outbreak of the coronavirus, stating “we will not export anything to India, while Australia has created an island with a direct mandate that if you come from China, you stay on the Island for 14 days.”

According to him, this means that Liberia has to go to the extreme to protect its citizens and ensure that all measures if any outbreak is in place.

According to him, as of today February 4, 2020, there are 20,000 people infected with the virus just from 17,000 yesterday, February 3, 2020, and 450 deaths also today. He emphasized that the disease is terrible, which has led to many people wondering.

“This is a disease that is spreading in multiple ways. You don’t only need to come in direct contact with a person having coronavirus before receiving it. If the person even coughs on something and you happen to come in contact with it, you can encounter the virus,” Dr. Fallah explained.

He explained that the name Coronavirus comes from a family of viruses because the microscope shows that it has a structure that looks like spide, and scientists called them Coronavirus.

Dr. Fallah said the coronavirus does not have a name, and therefore, scientists are calling it “219NCOV,” which started in China where there is a large animal market and all indications showed that those affected by the virus were concentrated around the market.

He said the virus is predominately among animals while stating that “70 percent of diseases that human faces come from animals, including HIV and malaria and because the immune system is not adjusted to it, every time it comes, it hits as an epidemic.

According to him, shortly after the Chinese Government discovered the virus and decided to quarantine 55 million people, fine million people have already left the country, which is affecting the world today.

“You can imagine someone coming to emptying entire Liberia and squatting them around the world. Those are the ones linked to the disease. Today, the Chinese are still trying to trace the source of the disease. Again. The outbreak started in December and continued to other parts of the world,” Dr. Fallah said.

According to him, the five million people who left the country went to Thailand, and other places and begin to infect other people, stating “the guy from Germany got infected just from sitting with the Chinese man during a workshop in Germany.”

He indicated that the United States of America has 11 cases in all, which is through human-to-human transmission but Africa and South America have not had any confirmed case. He said there have been two confirmed deaths outside of China, include the Philippines and Hong hong.

“We have had over 97 persons coming to Liberia since January 25 when NPHIL instituted enhanced training. Of that 97 persons, 67 to 80 percent from China. The number will continue to increase because we are part of the global village,” Dr. Fallah said.

He said Liberia is must prepared as compared to prior to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. Dr. Fallah said in order to train healthcare workers, the ministry used its database and selected six persons, and are now deployed.

(l-r) second from left Dr. Nelson of the University of Liberia, Dr. Fallah, and Atty. Norris Tweah of UL relations

Former Liberia’s Information Minister and Ambassador to the United Nations, Lewis G. Brown said the empowerment of the media is critical in the fight against the world’s epidemic, the coronavirus that continues to panic.

“We can be ready if each of us has the right information. There should be no sermon concluded without reminding people of this deadly virus and there should be no end of talk show without reminding the people of this outbreak because it was time for Liberians to come together,” Mr. Brown who shared a lesson learned during the Ebola virus outbreak said.

According to him, if Liberia is to succeed in the fight against coronavirus if there’s an outbreak, everyone has to come together. He attributed the overcoming of the Ebola virus to community mobilization and participation.

“Liberians will not lose anything if all of us are aware and prepared to fight this deadly virus. Do not put communication at the back of the fight. Again, there was nothing that was needed to be said that we did not say to our people. Additionally, people need to feel that the government is in control of this matter,” Mr. Brown emphasized.

Mr. Brown who was asked to share his experience on measures used to creating awareness during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia emphasized that this was the time for anyone to be afraid prior to the spread of the disease.

“Every community radio must say something about this virus, especially in our various local vernaculars. We must never seize to talk about it until the fight is over completely. This is the time to communicate considering that the disease has not spread,” Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Brown told that students that due to communication strategies initiated, Liberia begins the first to be declared Ebola-free among the three countries, adding “we need to find all these social hubs and empower more people to speak out to the public.”

Dr. Julius S. Nelson, President of the University of Liberia said the administration believes that this was the appropriate time to inform the students about the epidemic or coronavirus.

“We are very grateful to everyone for coming, especially our distinguished speakers. It’s our hope and expectations that you will have a wonderful stay,” he said.

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