Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah has called for collective action nation-wide to battle the COVID-19, admitting that health workers alone cannot handle the fight in the face of a daily rise in reported cases with no end in sight, at least for now.
Although the government is yet to announce how effective the 21-day lockdown period was, it has extended the lockdown period throughout the country for an additional 14 days.
Unlike the initial lockdown period, additional measures have been introduced, amongst them, the compulsory wearing of face masks at all times when in public. Another newly introduced measure requires people to leave the streets as early as 1:00pm unlike the previous lockdown which required people to leave the streets by 3:00pm.
Aside from the lockdown extension and its accompanying measures intended to curb the spread of the virus, Health Minister Jallah has also appealed to Liberians across the country to be innovative, which sources suggest is a call to Liberians to resort to the use of whatever they believe could be helpful in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.
This newspaper recalls that US President Donald Trump in his call to Americans to be innovative, first suggested the use of hydroxychloroquine and then later the use of disinfectants to inject into those coming down with COVID-19.
However in the case of Liberia, the Health Minister’s call for innovation is being interpreted as a call to resort to the use of traditional medicines and herbs to combat the virus.
On the day she made this passionate call, the Minister of Health disclosed that Liberia had confirmed 133 cases, and recorded16 deaths with 25 recoveries so far.
Further, she told Journalists at the Ministry’s regular press conference Monday, April 27, 2020, that it is about time Liberians take advantage of the 14-day lockdown extension ordered by President George Weah to work together as one nation and people to ensure that the battle against COVID-19 is won.
Dr. Jallah said during the additional 14 days lockdown period, health authorities will expect to see more enforcement, increased public compliance to announced health protocols and communities actively and fully involved in the fight against the virus.
She said out of the 16 COVID-19 deaths, only one came from the treatment center and that individual is the head of the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency, Marcus Soko.
Dr. Jallah pointed out that the majority of the deaths reported took place either at local homes or they were dead bodies found in the streets and tested positive of the COVID-19. This disclosure has however raised doubts about the accuracy of the fatalities attributed to COVID-19 as those individuals may have been suffering from preexisting health conditions such as tuberculosis, asthma, ordinary flu etc., which may present symptoms identical to that of COVID-19.
Declared Minister Jallah to reporters, “Liberia’s death rate is so far higher unlike other neighboring Countries because, we are testing dead bodies, unlike our sister countries, and this is why our report is the way it is for now”.
She said additional 47 people are now undergoing their last 14-day quarantine period after which they will be released to be reunited with their families, which according to her is a victory for the fight against the virus.
Dr. Jallah warned people not to rely on ventilators because 80% of people who went through the ventilators process did not survive. Therefore, she said people should not stay home until it is too late before going to the hospital.
She told citizens that covering of nose and mouth properly is key and should be taken seriously in order to reduce and contain the further spread of the virus.
Dr. Jallah reiterated that the virus is real and people should not doubt it because it is taking away lives and it does not discriminate.