Plenary and executive sessions in the Chambers of the Senate will be officially put on hold when Senators of the 53rd Legislature go on a two-week Easter break. The Senators are expected to use the break to carry on a sensitization and awareness campaign on the outbreak of the Ebola virus.
The Senate’s break comes in the wake of decisions taken by the Upper House aimed at containing the virus that has already taken at least 10 lives.
The first action by the Senate plenary during news of the outbreak was a unanimous vote requesting President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to declare a state of emergency and subsequently close Liberia’s borders with neighboring countries. It is, however, not clear whether the House of Representatives will concur with the Senators.
Authorities at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare had earlier informed the Government that to effectively fight and contain the virus, it needs a budget of US$1.2 million.
On Thursday, the Liberian Legislature requested the Executive to re-enforce the moratorium on all hunting activities until the country is free of the deadly Ebola virus.
The Legislature assured the relevant ministries and agencies of Government and international partners of its support to rapidly respond and prevent any further spread of the virus in Liberia.
During a Joint Leadership meeting at the Capitol Building attended by the Chairman of the Cabinet, Internal Affairs Minister, Health authorities and the Resident Representative of the World Health Organization, the Legislature was briefed on the current situation and measures the Health Ministry is implementing to arrest the threat the Ebola virus poses to Liberians.
Both House Speaker Alex Tyler and Senate Pro-Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley assured health authorities during the meeting that the Legislature would help mobilize resources to upgrade surveillance for case management, infection control and social mobilization.
The Acting Chairman of the Cabinet, Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly, and Health Minister, Dr. Walter Traub Gwenigale, told the Legislature that with support from their partners, they would continue to provide the necessary guidance, updates and resources to contain the outbreak.
Meanwhile, in view of suggested measures to prevent the virus’ outbreak in schools and congested areas, the Legislature has called on the Ministry of Education to adjust the 2014 School Calendar by announcing an early Easter Break in Schools around the country.