— Deputy Labor Minister Atty. Dixon clarifies report trending on social media that he is positive of the Coronavirus
Atty. Phil Tarpeh Dixon, Deputy Labor Minister for Manpower Planning and Human Research Development, has refuted a report trending on social media that he is positive of the coronavirus.
Minister Dixon, who spoke at a press conference on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Monrovia, informed the public that the fiction that has gone viral on the social media, originated from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s official Facebook page.
A message on a Facebook named “Ministry of Commerce and Industry” that he, “Phil Tarpeh Dixon, Deputy Labor Minister for Manpower and Human Resource Development, returned to Liberia on SN Brussels and was sick in Caldwell in the time of Coronavirus and asking people to pray for Liberia.”
Atty. Dixon said the Ministry clarified to him that its official social media page was hacked and has since denied posting anything of such. He reiterated that the report about him is false and misleading and intended to impede the workings of the Ministry of Health, emphasizing that it is also intended to endanger his life and those of his family.
He further explained that at no time did he board the Brussels Airlines along with Dr. Nathaniel Blama, the first person said to have been confirmed positive of the virus. Rather, he traveled on board Arik Air on March 13, 2020.
“As a staff of the Ministry of Labor, and a government official appointed by the President and, with the permission of my boss the Minister proper at the Ministry, I left Monrovia on Monday, March 2, 2020, flying on Kaya Airways to go Ghana to obtain a visa. I was one of the persons invited to speak at the Commonwealth Africa summit in England. In fact, I was asked to speak on the keynote on that summit to address the issue of uniting Africa overcoming Ebola and facing the Coronavirus, scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Unfortunately, I did not get a copy of the visa until Thursday, March 12, 2020,” which was too late for the conference, Minister Dixon said.
Atty. Dixon further admitted that he was down with symptoms of malaria upon his return to Liberia and was treated by his personal doctor over the weekend which, according to him, apparently stimulated the lies about him being a suspected coronavirus carrier.
According to him, the report on Facebook alleging that he was tested positive for the coronavirus forced him to turn himself over to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) for a test.
When authorities from the NPHIL were contacted, relative to Minister Dixon’s test and travel history, the health authority denied reports that he refused to be quarantined and clarified that Deputy Minister Dixon and his entire family were never arrested as being speculated.
Atty. Dixon added: “So, on Friday, I checked out of my hotel and found out which flight was the cheapest to Monrovia, and I was informed that Arik Air would have been the cheapest and I came on it to Liberia.
“We arrived in Monrovia at about 11 pm. I have a friend who is a professional nurse and I told him to check me when I thought I was experiencing malaria and he confirmed that I was malaria positive.”
“Let me say categorically that in my entire life I have never sat or flown with SN Brussels. As it stands I am healthy, including my entire family. What hurts me most is that I did not attend the summit, and it is a loss to the country,” Mr. Dixon clarified.