President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has lifted the State of Emergency (SOE) with immediate effect. However, the SOE’s ‘sister,’ the curfew, remains in force. It will, however, be extended by an hour, from 12 midnight to six a.m.
“I am pleased to announce that the curfew is extended to midnight, except those in proximity to hotspots. Weekly and border markets are open and school authorities immediately upon passage of the budget, will organize young people in the communities to start the renovation and clean-up of school facilities in preparation for school opening, at a time to be decided by the progress in the anti-Ebola fight.”
The President made the statement Thursday at Foreign Affairs Ministry when she addressed the nation on the lifting of the State of Emergency.
She said that since March of this year, the nation had been stricken by an unprecedented outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease. This outbreak, she said, overwhelmed and disrupted the rebuilding of Liberia and its healthcare delivery system and undermined the nation’s normal economic, social, cultural, and political activities. Many citizens became infected and died while many more died of treatable illnesses as hospitals were shut down and beds were insufficient to treat the infected.
According to President Sirleaf, the nation was shaken by the strange and dangerous enemy. But, she added, the government and people of Liberia remained calm and undeterred, and we acted decisively—closing borders, imposing state of emergency and the curfew, ordering quarantines, closing schools and restricting public gatherings.
As the outbreak progressed, posing a clear and present danger to the Liberia, the neighboring countries and the rest of the world, we were compelled to declare a State of Emergency and obtained the concurrence of the Legislature in keeping with the Constitution, the President said.
“We took on the fight, appealed to the world and our citizens and they listened and the world responded,” she said.
Following the State of Emergency, many gains were made and a number of our compatriots are still lying in Ebola Treatment Units(ETUs), hot spots are springing up in rural areas and many are still dying of the killer disease.
She noted that Liberia cannot be declared Ebola free until the neighboring countries like Sierra Leone and Guinea are also free of the Ebola virus.
President Sirleaf disclosed that in keeping with the public health law, government is determined to enable the maintenance of the required vigilance, community mobilization and awareness throughout the country. GOL will also do its best to sustain the gains we have made as a nation until we can start the progressive countdown of 21 days, until the national goal of zero new cases by Christmas is achieved all across the country.
“We will keep many of the previous measures in place with appropriate adjustments consistent with the progress in our fight.”
She expressed confidence that Liberians can win this fight against Ebola and believes that resilience and commitment of the people remain strong and resolute in the fight, noting that it is her belief that partners will continue to be with the country as we move forward to rebuild a healthcare delivery system.
She expressed gratitude to the international partners, who have demonstrated that the world has shown their care for the country.