President ‘Embarrassed’ by Poor Adherence to COVID-19 Preventives

President George Manneh Weah

— Promises to order for rapid test kits for COVID-19

President Weah has expressed his embarrassment at the poor observance and enforcement of the preventive protocols to curtail the spread of the novel Coronavirus disease in Liberia on the part the general public and the law enforcement, respectively.

in a phone-in interview with Freedom FM on Wednesday, Mary 13, the President Weah said he is worried that COVID-19 might overwhelm the country if people continue to disregard health protocols announced by the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“I was out there in the streets of Monrovia just two days ago (being May 13, 2020) and what I saw is totally embarrassing. People are not respecting social distancing. They are still hugging and even shaking hands,” the President said.

According to him, the joint security apparatus, including the Police, Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), among others, are doing their best but they have to do better.

“I have visited some of the checkpoints around town and what I saw is that some officers sit there and watch people grouping in very close proximity to each other. They even hug but the Police sit and watch them. It should not be so,” he noted.

He added that he did not instruct the joint security to beat anyone out there in the streets but people must have respect for law and order.

“When people are defiant, sometimes the law has to be harsh. This is not just about one or a few persons. It could be your mother, it could be your father or your sister or your brother. We all have to protect ourselves from this Virus,” Weah said.

He further pointed out that social distancing should not only be an outside thing but also at the homes of people.

“Sit far apart from each other, even when you are at home. If you are safe, your uncle or other family members will also be safe,” he admonished.

President Weah told Freedom FM that he loves his people and will do all he can in his power to ensure that they are safe and free from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, President George Weah has promised that his government will bring in rapid testing kits to enable health workers massively and properly identify unknown carriers of the Coronavirus in the country. He said that the distribution of food to vulnerable households will also begin “in a few days”.

“We are working with our partners and I am very sure that in a few days from now, the distribution of food among our people will begin. There is already a number of our agents out there mapping all the communities we are to serve the food to,” Weah said.

Although it is unclear how the public may react if the food is supplied selectively (only those referred to by Finance Minister, Samuel Tweah as “vulnerable,) the proposal has received wide condemnation from the public for fear that such food will be served only to supporters of the CDC. And the question being asked is just who or which group of people are identified as vulnerable and what is the criteria used to arrive at such determination.

According to Finance Minister Tweah, the distribution of the rice and other food items will begin on May 23.

Since April 10, 2020, a state of emergency has been in force across the country with a curfew beginning at 3:00 p.m., previously affecting only Montserrado and Margibi Counties. Due to the number of COVID-19 cases spreading across the country, all residents of other counties, with few exceptions, are required to remain at home beginning at 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. the following day.

The President said he is doing lots of other positive things amid the anti-COVID-19 fight but he is not interested in any publicity.

“You know, not everything you do people must know. I don’t like to bring my issues to the public unless I reach to a logical conclusion that I have done well and it is time for the public to know,” he said.

Working with the Opposition block in the fight against COVID-19

Weah said he does not regard anyone as opposition in the fight against COVID-19 which, according to him, is everybody’s business.

“I don’t want to use the term opposition. We are all Liberians. This country belongs to all of us and this is why I called on all of them and the rest of the citizens to join us in the fight against this Virus.

“I called my friend, Benoni Urey the other day and asked him to do something for the people of Careysburg. And I am happy he is doing well. Others too are doing what they can. We are happy and pray that we all defeat this virus together,” he said.

The Media

Weah commended the Press in the country for creating enough awareness on the prevention and fight against COVID-19.

“Journalists are my friends, even though some of them write or report in the way they do, but I have nothing against them. This is why no journalist is in prison because of the way they are reporting, even if it is not in our favor or the country in general. I see no reason to have any journalist behind bars because what they do does not warrant putting them in prison,” he said.

He added: “If a journalists does something that is to take him or her to jail, that person will go to jail.”

President Weah further said, no one will get job in his government because of writing or reporting critical stories about against him or badmouthing him.

“Whoever is hired today to work in this government deserves it. I am not moved by the noise out there. You can criticize to help someone improve but if it is all about insults and proving that you are better, then that is it, but you will not get job from me,” he warned.

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