‘Total Lockdown Needed to Stop COVID-19 Spread’

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Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, CEO, Shufflex Biomed

— Says infectious disease expert, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan; urges health authorities to protect patients’ information

Infectious disease expert, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, has warned that Liberia’s healthcare service will be overwhelmed if the government refuses to lock down the country now in order to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer, Dr. Nyan said in order to avoid any ugly situation like Italy, now that the country has had its first community transmission, the best solution is to totally lockdown the country and begin vigorous mass laboratory testing for the COVID-19 so as to know who is infected.

Dr. Nyan’s statement comes the same day after the government through the ministry of health declared a national public health emergency as a result of its third case. The third case, a woman in her mid-sixties, attended two private clinics, one referral hospital and a beach party, leaving a trail of nearly 200 contacts, which health authorities are trying frantically to trace.

“What is happening in Italy at the moment could well play out in Liberia and other African countries if proper preventive measures are not enforced,” Dr. Nyan said.

“Social distancing helps a lot, but I strongly suggest that a total lock-down will be far more effective as was evidently done in Wuhan to control or stop the viral spread in the population,” he added. “This virus spreads vertically via person-to-person contact and has been determined to increase exponentially.”

According to Dr. Nyan, the COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to Liberia and other African countries, and this cannot be sugar-coated-in in any manner.

“We see how the virus is ravaging the developed countries and is being imported to Africa. Hence, close all borders and restrict internal travels to a minimum; and, all citizens, as well as foreign residents, should be mandated to say in-doors for at least three to four weeks, while frontline healthcare workers implement measures against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Nyan said.

In her declaration, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah said the decision to declare the third coronavirus case a public Health Emergency in Montserrado and Margibi Counties was prompted because of the number of people that got in contact with the third infected person.

“I have noticed business as usual. There were many people gathered at wells, people holding hands, hugging, and people are crowded in the market,” Min. Jallah added. “Based on the result of the third case, and the amount of contact, we have no choice, but to come out with the following directive. In the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic and in an effort to keep our nation safe, the Minister of Health has declared a National Health Emergency in keeping with Title 33, Chapter 14 of the Liberian Code of Law, revised, known as the public health law. I, as Minister of Health, have designated Montserrado County and Margibi County as infected areas which will remain in effect for the next 21 days.”

The minister said all schools, public and private, universities, computer schools, and any other learning institution, are hereby ordered closed.

“All bars, nightclubs, casinos, betting centers, cinemas, video clubs, entertainment centers, are hereby ordered closed. All beaches, both private and public are hereby ordered closed. Churches, mosques, religious centers and other places of worship are hereby ordered closed.

However, for Dr. Nyan, such move is not enough to prevent a serious spillover from the country’s third case because an undetected infected person is likely to travel to other parts of the county that is not affected by the lockdown.

“We all are witnessing what is happening now in Italy which has registered over 54,000 confirmed cases and almost 5,000 total deaths. Italy, with its highly developed healthcare system, acted very late,” Dr. Nyan said.

“It did not prepare soon enough, and the United States with all its sophisticated medical and public health systems are also presently not well-equipped, very unprepared, and are still scrambling for safety equipment (PPEs) for frontline healthcare workers and ventilators for needed patients,” Dr. Nyan reminded health authorities.

These trending examples, according to Dr. Nyan, present serious warnings to Liberia and other African countries with already weak healthcare systems.

Dr. Nyan argued that any further delay, Liberias’ healthcare system may crumble under the weight of an uncontrolled COVID-19 spread if the necessary preventive measures are not strictly implemented and conducted in a timely fashion.

Besides lock-down, Dr. Nyan has further urged “the government to provide adequate funding to public health institutes to enable the NPHILs efforts of conducting these preventive, containment, and mitigation exercises against the COVID-19 pandemic in Liberia.”

With more funding, Dr. Nyan said this will enable the NPHIL to focus more on vigorous laboratory testing on all arriving persons, on all quarantined persons presently under investigation for COVID-19 infection, and on all traced persons who were in contact with an infected case.

Regarding diagnostic capability in Liberia, Dr. Nyan stressed that, for a population of about 4.5 million persons, “this will require that government secures at least 10,000 test kits, to begin with, each kit containing 100 tests.”

“Presently, there is a high probability that there could be a lot of positive cases roaming out there in the population that are missed or undetected due to Liberia’s limited testing capacity. Infected persons who are not tested could unknowingly be spreading the virus from one person to another,” the Liberian US-based medical expert said.

According to Dr. Nyan, the present three known positive cases may just be a tip of the iceberg, which is why a total lockdown of the country is very imperative, in addition to social distancing and other preventive measures.

“Hence, the government needs to act immediately,” he said. Remember that I warned the government about the outbreak since January this year and this should have given the government sufficient time to prepare.”

Dr. Nyan added: “Now we can see that the delay in preparing, the lack of proper enforcement of screening regulations at the airport, the selective quarantine of persons arriving into the country, giving free passage to some persons arriving from the US and high-risk countries of Europe, and the lack of adequate funding and healthcare manpower are among several deficiencies of Liberia’s current response efforts to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“It is tough, but NPHIL seems to be doing the best it can,” Dr. Nyan said.

Meanwhile, he has warned against self-medication, particularly the use of Chloroquine, which is still undergoing additional clinical trials to investigate whether Chloroquine is safe in the treatment of COVID-19 infection and whether it really works in treating COVID-19 infection.

“I don’t advise anyone to self-medicate. And, I say again, do not self-medicate! Don’t even think about using Chloroquine,” the Liberian medical scientist said.

Dr. Nyan further explained that at this point, there must be strict compliance with Social-Distancing; no hand-shaking; no hugging and no kissing; “perform constant hand-washing with soap; sneeze and cough in the inner angle of the elbow; and, perform self-monitoring for signs such as fever, coughing, sneezing, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and headache, among others.”

In a related development, Dr. Nyan has said the Ministry of Information should not be the one communicating health matters, particularly when it comes to public health pandemic issues that require expert-communication.

He said this is meant to avoid miscommunication and to protect patients’ confidentiality.

“Thirdly, health authorities should maintain strict confidentiality about ordinary patients who are detected positive for COVID-19 infection,” he said. “It is a type of shaming, emotional abuse, and violation of patients’ rights by the government to release or make public the names of ordinary patients.”

Earlier in January, Dr. Nyan and the Diaspora COVID-19 Focus Group alerted Liberia health authorities and other African countries about the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Later in February this year, he again cautioned African governments against using the faulty Coronavirus testing kits from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rwanda and other African Countries have totally shut down activities in their countries and are conducting large scale testing. It remains to be seen if Liberia will follow suit.

In a related development, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that the “pandemic is accelerating” and urged countries to take an aggressive approach.

Meanwhile it remains yet unknown whether the Government of Liberia has approached the governments of China and Cuba for possible assistance to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. China, according to reports has donated more than a million facemasks and related equipment to some countries while Cuba has announced the dispatch to Italy of an 80-man medical team of doctors and other related health professionals to help combat the disease.

It has also announced that it is currently responding to requests for assistance from 15 countries for 22 medications it has produced including Interferon Alpha 2B for the treatment of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

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16 COMMENTS

  1. While total “lock down” may seem a practical response to a health epidemic sush as we are currently grappling with, at the same time this harsh measure has to take into consideration the attendant reality and therefore implications for citizens in the cordoned area, lest the fallout from that preventative measure supersedes the intended good.

    For instance, we have to take into consideration that over half of the population of the areas under this lock down decree, live or survive by hustling daily for their daily bread. Meaning these are people with no regular source of income, or even if they have, those incomes don’t last more than a week after payday and the breadwinners are flat broke.

    This means the heads of those households have to “hustle” daily, in order to be able to sustain their families, the “papa na come” types. The food stuffs they are able to fetch is sufficient for just a day and they have to be out again the next day, and the next, and the next, on and on always on the hustle. Such necessities as refrigerators for the preservation of food for over 24 hours is a luxury they cannot afford, one contributing factor to their daily hustle.

    So how does the GOL expect such population to sustain itself under such exacting measure? Except as the Italians and others enforcing such similar actions in their countries are doing, the GOL has relief supplies to distribute with those families. Something similar to what SELF did for besieged citizens in Monrovia during our erstwhile internecine war. Otherwise, this half thought-out draconian decree will erupt into another bonfire, a la West Pointe 2014. And we will be here to remind the nitwits behind this mimicking decision, we told you so. TWT!

  2. @ PeterGboyo.

    What is your recommendation?

    If all you have to offer is ridiculous criticism of the decision to lock-down densely populated areas of the country, maybe you would be better off just by keeping quiet.

    Which Planet are you living on…?
    ————————————————

    The USA is locking-down states, Not just cities … I said states!
    The UK is locking-down parts of The Kingdom!
    The Italians are under total lock-down of the entire country!
    The Chinese did it …!
    South Korea did it…!
    Other countries are doing it…!

    If the people living in Monrovia and other densely populated areas are wise, they have had more than one hint — And, “a hint to the wise is quite sufficient”.

    My people…!
    Get the hell out of densely populated area and go to the remote villages until this thing passes away!

    Do Not Wait to be tested because…
    If the test result finds you POSITIVE, there’s no medication to treat you at this time!

    So, Prevention is better than Cure — and, all of us knows that. Don’t We?????

  3. Apparently you read yet, lack simple comprehension ability. As I insinuated Mr. Jackass, the other countries happen to have the attendant social mechanism as a safety net to alleviate the plight of their citizens under the circumstances. Can your shithole country afford even a gallon of milk, or any relief augmentation to address the untold sufferings of the pinned down citizens throughout the course of this crisis? Hence that ill-conceived measure will falter under its own stupidity when those hungry citizens can bear it no more. And then what? Your goon squad of “small boys unit” will be sent in to restore law and order? You better carry your friskiness to others of your pedigree. Darn sanama swine!

    • Ooooh … Nooooo … You OLD ASS!!!

      I don’t think you meant to start the insulting game with MEEEE..!!!

      Da Yor Darn sanama swine!
      Da Yor Ma Darn sanama swine!
      Da Yor Wife Darn sanama swine!
      Da Yor Children Darn sanama swine!
      Da Yor Pa Darn sanama swine!
      Da Yor GrandMa Darn sanama swine!
      Da Yor GrandPa Darn sanama swine!
      Da Yor Stinking, Faggy, Darn sanama swine!
      PunkASSMutaFuka, Darn sanama swine, You are!!

  4. Lock until you find the medicine for this dangerous sickness. You already got sample of the virus. Find out what will blow it off at once. The Liberian country doctor in the bush might know it and might have a possible cure. The Mamba name is: Ohhbaakaymaeomblabuahseybmendheiyan. We have given Liberian Government the Liberian money. Enough to find the medicine. You Doctors, country, native or not! find the medicine now! What is the formula? God means it.

    Do not reply me. Ask God.

  5. Testing will waste time and money right now. Find the prevention and the dam medicine. All the book or theories will not help right now. We have heard enough. Find the medicine.
    Now …..immediately…….. You got the Money. Do not care what kind of numbers. Find the prevention and cure. You see the amount of people vanishing and sicking in the whole world? Do not bring your stupid politics here. The Medicine. God getting mad.

    Gone in silence. Do not answer me. Tell the people.

  6. How long should the lockdown be as to give the government ample time to put its health Mechanism together ? So that when ever the lockdown is gradually lifted and there are pockets or the virus, the government can be adequately prepared to handle the threat. So how can the responsive health mechanism be like, that after the lockdown period , the government is prepared. Some countries are putting the lockdown period to that of 21 days. Although it took China about four months to contain the virus. Lockdown is not the issue here, but the health mechanism needed to determine how the lockdown is going to be. Although there will a wait and see period to see if new cases are being developed when the lockdown is gradually being lifted. So let focus on the health mechanisms that are put in place as to see the situations are improving, or that the lockdown can continued for x numbers of time. Public anxiety in the lockdown is one major reason why all health related mechanisms must be studied and explained to the general public, perhaps on a daily basis. This is only meant to see that everyone is co-operating and are on the same page in order to control the virus. Lockdown is one thing, health related mechanisms to determine how well the system is working during the lockdown, is another thing.

    • It’s until April the 4th I am here in America. They’re were some Media outlets that has been involved in putting it and the dangers of the coronavirus into the public but no one here in America trust the media we know that they all lie well some of us do. I am so happy and grateful that I found your comments and your messages. The way that you and your librarians family and friends came together. I really don’t see that happening in this country is so much racism is homosexuality it’s so much stuff that separates us. But now staying inside and being lockdown is the best thing. Because America was not prepared for this but God’s people were. He’s been preparing for it. nobody should take the vaccine even if they have flu-like symptoms. Because the virus is inside the vaccine. That is another way of deception to kill off a lot of our people. It’s only the beginning now is the time to get ready for war would be an invisible enemy. And you my brother have the experienceso you’re going to be used as a mighty conqueror child prepare yourself and get ready. This is evidence that you have an enemy just at the end of January I found out about it being in the wet market in China but deep down inside I knew that we were in trouble. Because America has been blessed with chance after chance. And some of the hearts of the people are very hard. I I live in a very privileged very wealthy country and yet I don’t have the privilege of having brothers and sisters and people that can be genuinely real in my life. I was starting to get back a little angry cuz I used to be very angry and I was starting to have anxiety and get into fear and be depressed. For all my life I had to practice being humble and not letting that getting to me and just you know taking it with a grain of salt and just believing that God love me even though that they don’t. But I have an very beautiful life. And instead of this taken from me. I decided to take care of myself and to follow protocol. Because even though God protects God also give us common sense. Thank you so much 💕

  7. The key is to find the Medicine. The key holder is to find the prevention herb. The hinges is to lock until God says open. You already know now how to lock up and down.
    Do not call me back. Gone for long in silent prayers and meditation. Not a preacher but I can pray for the whole universe.

  8. Dr. Nyan is 101% correct. Nyan’s suggestion should be taken seriously! I sincerely hope that the medical staff of Dr. Fallah as well as the government of Liberia will move swiftly in the direction of a lockdown. There’s nothing to fuss about here! A lockdown will stop the spread of Covid-19.

    A call for a lockdown as well as the closure of the porous Liberian borders will not be done overnight. The people of Liberia will be told in advance. This will give the people of Liberia, rich or poor, ample time to prepare for a lockdown. Something has to be done. In fact, a lockdown means something is being done.

    The developed countries of the world are on edge. One of the ways in which the developed countries minimize the spread of Covid-19 is by way of a lockdown. As the developed countries reel through these difficult times, a country such as Liberia cannot sit idly by and do nothing or wait to be told by a developed country what ought to be done in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

  9. Total lock down may kill more people in Liberia than the virus itself so I hope we carefully study what we are doing and not simply attempting to copy what others are doing

  10. Comrade Thomas,
    The way I see it, a lockdown is not a lockup. A lockdown situation is usually temporary, whereas a lockup is like being put behind bars because of an infraction. Anh you understand?

    If you are opposed to a lockdown, what do you propose? In other words, what’s the best way you think Covid-19 can be contained without spreading so quickly brother Thomas?

    You didn’t use the word “lockup”, I did. But some people may think otherwise, you never know how some people think my friend. Additionally, I don’t think that a lockdown in Liberia is a phocopying effort on the part of the Liberian government. By the way, if the Liberian government photocopies whatever other countries do, what’s so bad about that? Is it illegal? What can the medical authorities do besides a lockdown? Again, what’s your suggestion?

    In the countryside, it’s a lot better. The food gatherers can dig some cassava and make their fufu today and then do a repeat tomorrow. In metropolitan places (Monrovia, for instance), it’s hard. I understand. But, in Monrovia, if people used to buy 3 cups of rice every day, the lockdown will force them to buy at least 12 cups of rice for four days. The people can stay inside and eat their food. Something wrong with that? My man, no body will die ooo. Let the people lockdown. They want to save lives. What you think?

  11. In Bomi County the citizens are taking this issue very seriously and I applaud them for the simple steps being observed by them. I guess lessons were learnt from the EBola crisis.

    We all need to follow guidelines and be mindful of our health.

    This too shall pass

  12. For sure, it shall come to pass!

    I am glad to hear that people in Bomi are concerned about the deadly virus. I hope everyone in Liberia, except the toddlers are taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

    Covid-19 is disrespectful. It shows no favoritism. Yet without passport, the virus goes from country to country. The British Prime Minister, Mr. Johnson is one of the virus’s victims. Who would have thought that a high class person like Mr. Johnson would be infected?

    So Joe, your dad sold his car to you for $800? That’s good. I am sure he could have sold the car to someone else for a higher price. Now you have your own car. Very proud of you young guy.
    Dip into your savings account and withdraw $800. Okay? And yes, if your younger sister does not know how to drive, this is the opportune time to teach her.

    Hang in there.

    As always, peace.

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