Activities at the Ganta Port of Entry have slowed and virtually grounded almost to a halt due to the partial closure of the Guinean border by authorities as part of that country’s efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) currently ravaging countries of the world.
According to officers assigned at border the Guinean Authority have deployed new batch of well-armed soldiers to the border, replacing the previous guard. According to security sources, it is believed the Guinean authorities are implementing strict population movement control measures to prevent people from going back and forth across the border as a way of containing the possible spread of the virus.
“Currently, the Guineans are not allowing commercial cars, except for cargo (freight) vehicles with at least two persons, the driver and the car boy,” said Mr. Selma Wolobah, Custom Collector assigned at the border who spoke to our reporter.
“Businesses are going on as usual, but at a slow pace, while people are just restricted in line with recommended preventive measures to control the disease,” he added.
When the Daily Observer visited the border, it was unusually quiet as though nothing was happening, but offices at the Liberian side were open, with over five used cars entering from Guinea.
“Movement at the border has changed since the Guinean Referendum was held, during which there were reports of political unrest in N’zérékoré that reportedly left several persons dead” an official of the Ministry of Commerce told this paper.
“Our side of the border is still open; only the Guineans had their side closed,” said one Delpue, Ministry of Agriculture agent at the border.
The Ganta Border is one of the busiest rural ports in Liberia, where many locally consumed foods, such as pepper, ground nuts, bitter-balls and many other agriculture products enter the country daily.
The partial closure of the Guinean Border and also closure of the Ivorian border in the east will tend to undermine economic activities and or exacerbate the grave economic situation Liberia currently faces.
Recently, over 10 gasoline tankers crossed the border entering from Guinea, with each truck loaded with 10,000 gallons of petrol.
The coming of the tankers were, according to sources at the border, done through official arrangements between both governments.
Meanwhile in Ganta, recommended health protocols to combat the virus are yet to be observed. Night clubs are still open, restaurants still accommodating more than 10 persons, while market places and other social gatherings are abuzz with activities conveying the distinct impression that the recommended health measures are being conveniently ignored with many people yet to fully observe the protocols.
Commercial cars are still carrying more than three persons, and to avoid encounters with the Police at the checkpoints when loaded in such fashion, a passenger or two disembark on request by the driver in order to convey the false impression that they are compliant with the recommended protective health measures.