Liberia: Weah Declares State of Emergency Amid COVID-19

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President George Manneh Weah

ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR. GEORGE MANNEH WEAH PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA

ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN LIBERIA

THE EXECUTIVE MANSION
CAPITOL HILL
MONROVIA, LIBERIA

8 APRIL 2020

As delivered:

Fellow Citizens and Foreign Residents:
We are all witnessing the devastation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic around the world. Hundreds of thousands of persons around the globe have been infected by it, thousands have died as a result of contracting it, and many more thousands are predicted to die. The disease has overwhelmed more advanced health care systems in many countries, and has brought the economies of several developed nations almost to a complete halt.

The sad reality of millions of victims and thousands of deaths around the world should give all of us cause to pause and think about what we must do collectively to protect ourselves from this dreadful pestilence. The horrific scenarios that are beginning to emerge should serve as sufficient warning for everyone of us to spring into action.

The Government of Liberia continues to work with determination, diligence, and focus, to combat this deadly COVID-19 disease. You will recall that a Special Presidential Advisory Committee on Coronavirus (SPACOC) was established two months ago, under my leadership, as soon as it was perceived that the disease was likely to develop into a global pandemic of epic proportions, that could possibly affect this country.

As Chairman of SPACOC, I have personally presided over many strategy and operational meetings, with the aim and objective of coordinating the fight against the Corona disease in Liberia.

I have also instituted the Executive Committee on Corona Virus (ECOC) as the operational arm of SPACOC that will focus on community initiatives and outreach.

As head of both committees, I am directly involved with the day-to-day activities with our health experts, members of the Cabinet, and our international partners, in order to help mitigate the spread of the virus, at the same time explore ways and means to help ease some of the economic challenges that this virus will cause to our our country and people.

Fellow Liberians:
Although our health teams are working assiduously to complete the testing of scores of contacts, we have to recognize that the COVID-19 virus has now entered a new phase in our country, as we move from protection to containment. The dynamics of our management of the disease have been significantly changed, and will require much stronger additional measures to delay the spreading of this highly infectious virus, and keep our public safe.

Fellow Liberians:
This global pandemic is killing thousands of people around the world. It knows no borders, and there is yet no vaccination or cure. The global spread of this virus represents the greatest threat to the health and well-being of the people of Liberia since the Ebola epidemic suffered by our country from 2014 to 2016. It has already arrived in Liberia, and confirmed cases are now on the rise.

THEREFORE, by the Authority granted to me under Articles 85, 86, 87, and 88 of the Liberian Constitution, and after due consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, as required by law, I, George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, hereby declare a State of Emergency, to exist in and throughout the Republic of Liberia, for a period of three (3) weeks, renewable until the threat to Liberia from the Covid-19 virus no longer exists.

My Fellow Liberians:
As a first step under the powers hereby granted me under this State of Emergency, the Speaker and the President Pro-Tempore are to convene the 54th Legislature in Joint Session on tomorrow, Thursday, the 9th of April, 2020 for justification and endorsement of this State of Emergency by Joint Resolution, in accordance with Article 88 of the Liberian Constitution.

I further announce, under this State of Emergency, that all 15 counties in the Republic of Liberia are hereby quarantined from 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 2020, until further notice. movements between counties are strictly prohibited. No person shall be permitted to enter or leave or in any way cross the borders of any county into any other county, except for Montserrado County and Margibi County which are quarantined as a single unit.

As a further measure under this State of Emergency, all Liberians and residents within the borders of Montserrado County, Margibi County, Nimba County, and Grand Kru County are to STAY AT HOME for the next 14 days, beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 2020.

Throughout this period, residents may leave home only for essential journeys for reasons of health and food, which should be restricted to your local community only, and be limited to a single person per household for a maximum of one hour.

Exceptions shall be made for persons who are designated as essential staff in government offices, banks, supermarkets, and other business establishments such as hotels, petrol stations, and health facilities to travel directly to work and return directly home. All such commercial activities are to be closed no later than 3:00 p.m.

All non-essential businesses and Government offices will remain closed, with the exception of essential businesses, health facilities and a few key government offices, such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Bank of Liberia, the National Port Authority, the Liberia Revenue Authority, the Monrovia City Corporation, and the Liberia Broadcasting System, and accredited media, where only a skeleton staff will be given passes to work.

Other government offices may be designated as exempt based on the essential nature of their function. Meanwhile, non-exempt government employees and people in the private sector are encouraged to work from home.

Also exempted from these restrictions are: (a) production, distribution, and marketing of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and medicine; (b) environmental and sanitation activities; ( c) members of the security forces assigned to lawful duties; (d) essential staffs of electricity, water, telecommunications, banking, and hotels, and (e) the staff of fuel stations.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is hereby instructed to engage the leaders of the various marketing associations in counties under this STAY AT HOME order to make satisfactory arrangements about the operation of markets during this period, so as to ensure the observance of social distance and enhanced hygiene protocols.

In all other counties not under this STAY AT HOME order, residents are to stay within their respective local communities until otherwise ordered.

I have ordered the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia and the Chairman of the National Joint Security to enforce this stay-home policy beginning as of the effective date.

Further measures will be imposed from time to time under this State of Emergency

Fellow Liberians:

I want to encourage Liberians and foreign residents to abide by these measures – even under the most difficult of circumstances.

We have to ask ourselves why we should abide by these measures. The answer is to simple: to save lives. Remember, the life you save may be your own, or mine.

We should all learn from the experience of Ebola. We all will have to give up certain freedoms for the time-being, until we can get through this. That is why we have found it necessary to declare this State of Emergency. Stay at home and be safe.

Fellow Liberians:

Let me now take this opportunity to give thanks and appreciation to our brave health workers, including doctors and nurses and all other persons involved in the fight against this deadly disease. Your courage, your dedication, and your professionalism inspire us all.

In this regard, I would like to call on all retired health workers in Liberia, to join hands with your counterparts to reinforce our capabilities and strengths to fight COVID-19, with your vast experience and expertise. We need all hands on deck at this time.

I ask everyone to get on board and abide by the health measures and protocols that have been introduced. The enemy today is the virus, not each other.

In the meantime, I would like to call upon all our political and religious leaders, social media groups, students, teachers, civil society and the general citizenry to join us in this fight against Corona. We are all in this together as Liberians, regardless of your political affiliation or religion. We must therefore come together as ONE PEOPLE at this critical time of peril for our Nation. Let us use our time, talents, and social media platforms to educate our people on the basic hygiene and social distance practices that can keep them safe, and to encourage them to abide by the laws and regulations.

We can defeat this virus if we all commit ourselves to respecting all the measures that have been outlined. If we are undisciplined, we will be the cause for it to spread. But if we behave properly, and observe all regulations and health measures, we can also be the cure that will stop Corona in our country.

As I close, I ask the Almighty God to save our country Liberia, and the rest of the world from this deadly Coronavirus.

My Fellow Liberians:
Let us all rise, and stand together, to fight Corona!!
Let us do it for ourselves; our children, and our country, Mama Liberia.
I thank you.

5 COMMENTS

  1. With the imposition of the SOE, is the govt providing/supporting its action in term of stimulus package for the pple within its territorial confines?

  2. Countries where these measures take precedence, the government would give a supportive package inorder for the people to stay home and be fed. Infact, everybody would loved to obey the law of staying home but hunger will bring them out. So government, please distribute a stimulus package to your citizery

  3. hey, Liberia had been on a state of emergency since Jan 2018. its just a follow up from the 2018 inauguration. it was the beginning of doom in Liberia. besides, Why is the Monrovia City Corporation working to do and need to be placed in this statement when the city will be lockdown with no activities going on? power that be is working to control people using the health situation. which emergency or part of the constitution gives MCC right as an essential entity. what about Margibi City corporation? oh MY God !!!

    market tables were broken down few days ago by MCC without the people knowing. people don’t have food or means of getting food due to this. I pray that the people may not protest against this very soon or weah will have no choose but to kill people cuz a hungry man is an angry man. what a bad situation for the very poor.

    I 100% support staying home and keeping safe as require. I hope there are measures in Place to give food to homes by NGOs and not the govt cuz My brother Weah will put his name on it again as a form of campaign. instead of Monrovia city Corporation staying open to do nothing, humanitarian NGOs, INGOs, need to be open, activated and send out to give rice to communities.

    At least every house in Monstserrado should get a big of rice. within 14-30days when people are home they can receive the rice. it don’t have to be family heads, just houses and they can divide the rice in that house. the county is divided into district and communities or zones. this can be done starting from now till the 14-30days is over. its possible but community leaders and govt leaders will want more, people will steal the food and don’t get punish for it cuz they are connected to a leader in some way.

    this could just be a form of identifying with the people at home even if its 1 cup of rice. other countries are not providing 100% for all its citizens nor 100% of all the citizens will get. even if they all get 100%, its becuz they have a system to identify all the citizens and non citizens in the country unlike Liberia. we are just 4million. and the 2 counties may have not be more than 150,000 houses.

    this is where accounting for space, houses, and people gets important. where the urban and rural planners comes in the fix these data before situations like these. but its late for this now even though it can be done after the crisis.

    but it will be impossible to do this food giving cuz the govt can’t account for all its employees and pay them, how will they account for houses before people in one county.

    only God can help us Liberians, I pray people will not break the emergency order nor die at home from hunger or sick cuz this virus thing is very serious.

    Please wash your hands, clean your home and community, stay home and away from people not living in the house with you 6ft, and report to the health workers when you feel sick.

    This virus will not work in my country Liberia, the God that I save, God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob will not allow it happen again in Jesus name but until than please stay safe my people and follow instructions from the health workers.

  4. Now that the state of emergency has been declared for the lockdown without funding for those who will be affected and those frontline officials, what next to do ? Play checkers and wait for international help. What if the international will not be arriving anytime soon ? Does that means George will not proposed a Coronavirus budget to help out until help arrives? In the meantime, frontline emergency service crews will be acting in confusion ? Know something ? When a Liberian woman wants to put a Liberian man down and through embarrassment , the question that is usually asked of the man is: What Kind Of Man Is This ? And speaking to that kind of man directly, the next question by the Liberian woman is: What Kind Of Man Are You ? George as a feckless President who has to be told what to do and how to , can relate to those two very important questions. What kind of man are you ?

  5. Mr. President, I have listened to most of your critics in Liberia and around the world since your announcement of the state of emergency that takes effect this Friday in Liberia. I see both sides of the arguments, however I think you are taking the right measure to protect the Liberian people from massive death toll. But taking this measure in a country that about 64%of the population live below poverty line is in itself a challenge more over with this pandemic. I understand you are taking decision that will safe your people but how will these people eat and drink? More than 70 % of the people live on daily survivor’s skill. Meaning they have to hustle before they put meal on the table daily.

    If I were your adviser, I would have advice you to help with food for the people who live in the cities of Liberia. Other African nations are doing that..especially those bigger cities. All you need to do is tell your cabinets to take a pay cut of at least 20% and anyone who refuses should be dismissed from their posts. All legislatures from both houses should give 20% as well since they love their country and will be willing to help their constituents and if anyone refuses you can sell them to the Liberian people and they can pay the price with their next election. If you can do this, the country should have some money to spend and have food to help people in the country to enable mitigation of the spread of this virus by staying home. You will be doing a great job and will be rewarded in the next election should you do something like this.

    To all the critics of the president’s emergency announcement, we all have the responsibility to help our people in this pandemic… instead of criticizing the president plan you can suggest good ideas and we all work together for the common human good. You have plenty of time to talk politics but this is not time to score political points when people are dying all over the world. use your popularity instead of propaganda to raise funds and medical equipment like PPE, hands sanitizer etc. to help our people.

    Further more to all those critics, you will be worse than Weah when in his position. People Like Representative Yekeh Kolubah who has no substance in anything he says is always on the street talking rubbish and not doing his job. How many legislature has he come up with to help his constituents and move the country forward instead he stirring the poor people with so much bologna. He is a disgrace to the district that voted for him to represent them and to the nation. This is the result of war and a country with such low literacy rate in the 21st century. ( according to UNESCO: Lib.42.94% literacy rate total: with women 27.03% and men 60.77%) Please Liberian do not listen listen to this idiot to disrupt our country….. he is a former mob.
    To all the oppositions and the fifty other that waiting to run for president, this is time to run a good heart campaign by donating to the hospitals and buy rice for the people. Instead most of you are keeping your money on you but you only want to take away from the people not give. Mean!!!! Selfish!!! Bravo to the few of you people that are giving to the people and wish you all the best. Thank You!!

    I think Costa needs to use his popularity to help the people who believe in him so much now.

    It is one thing to criticize a policy, than hate the person. President Weah was legitimately elected and why it is true everyone will not like him or agree with him one should not insult your leader in open especially when you also want the same thing. I personally think it is wrong for Costa to vocally insult the president. It shows no regard for your nation and especially you are doing it in exile. Remember “what goes around comes around”. I no longer listen to his show because he is being personal with the president and is not what will unite Liberians. I am fine with constructive criticism but not destructive. He needs to use his international connections to unite the country not to divide. Further more he is not doing anything to help his people instead he and others are engaged in disrupting the country and trying to gain popularity to run for president.
    I only listen to people who are doing positive things and criticize the wrong others do!!!!

    Liberian please wake up from your dream!!!!

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