The National Port Authority (NPA) has temporarily shut down the government of Liberia’s ‘one stop shop’ center at the Freeport of Monrovia for spraying and disinfection. The port authority’s Managing Director, Madam Matilda Wokie Parker, announced the closure of the center on Monday, August 18 saying the decision is part of several precautionary measures put in place by NPA to combat the Ebola epidemic.
The one stop shop at the Freeport of Monrovia hosted the Ministry of Finance (Customs and Excise), Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) and other agencies of government that have direct connections with importing and exporting goods. The shop is used by business people to pay their taxes and fees to government.
Madam Parker, however, noted that the closure of the one stop shop does not anyway suggest that the port authority is shutting down the Freeport of Monrovia as it has been speculated in the public.
She urged all businesses connected to the one stop shop center to proceed to the respective agencies that were located at the center to process their documents and make their payments before coming to the Freeport to clear their goods.
“We have temporarily closed the one stop shop down because Management didn’t want to take chances. The building is being sprayed by APM Terminals and NPA health team and will be opened on August 19, but not to provide full service to the general public for now,” said the NPA boss.
NPA’s Ebola Measures
At the same time, the NPA has announced several Ebola preventive measures, Management has insisted, must be followed by all employees.
The measures require all employees, junior and senior staff to use chlorine bleach hand wash or alcohol based hand sanitizer upon entering and leaving the port.
All staff on NPA buses are also required to wear long pants and long sleeves shirt or blouse and that routine spraying of all NPA buses takes place prior to the work day and re-sprayed before departure for any other assignment and at the end of the work day.
According to Madam Parker, the transport officer and drivers reserve the right not to allow any employee who appears to show symptoms of the Ebola virus on the buses and that NPA’s emergency response team (ERT) setup by Management must be informed immediately of the incident.
In addition to the previous reduction in on site staffing and several other precautionary measures being observed within the facilities of the NPA, Parker called on all port users— employees, shipping agencies, contract agencies, and vendors doing business with the NPA to adhere to the mandatory procedures.
“If a port user shows a temperature of at least 100° F (37.8° C) from screening at the gates, such person will be considered a possible suspect of early Ebola symptoms and will not be allowed into the port without Ministry of Health clearance,” she said.
Vessels Crew Members
The NPA boss also announced termination of the issuance of shore passes to vessel crew members. “All stevedores or local employees boarding any vessel must be thoroughly screened for Ebola.”
“They will be subjected to preliminary screening upon entry into the port on a daily basis including check on the dock before boarding any vessel,” Parker added.