All over Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, and it seems throughout the country, Liberians are strictly observing the anti-COVID-19 restrictions, and that seems to be paying off. As of late yesterday evening there were no new reports of the infection anywhere in Liberia.
Our reporter, Simeon Wiakanty, contacted the Communication Director of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), Joseph Wiah, who confirmed that there were throughout the country no new cases of the virus.
The Institute seems to be paying very serious attention to this epidemic. It has established a chat room, where an informal and familiar manner of discussion can take place online. Engaged in this chat room are health reporters, and key health officials.
In addition to the chat room, there is also the NPHIL’s Face Book page, which provides the Situation Report giving daily situation reports and other updates on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Both the chat room and the Face Book page were created by the NPHIL and the Ministry of Health. NPHIL is the senior administrator of the chat room and the Face Book page.
We commend NPHIL for this worthy initiative, which is intended to create a properly coordinated system of reporting and information sharing. The aim is to avoid too much speculation on this deadly disease, COVID-19 — speculation that could easily mislead the public on such a critical and dangerous development in the country.
Mr. Wiakanty reported late yesterday evening that he had been in contact with the NPHIL, which confirmed that there were as yet “no knew cases” of the virus in Liberia. This is to be compared with Nigeria which last night reported five new confirmed cases, bringing to eight the number of those affected.
The Liberian report is truly remarkable and a clear indication that Liberians are following the lead of their government by strictly adhering to the rules and procedures it has established in order to limit public exposure to the disease. With only two known cases so far in Liberia—the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Nathaniel Blama and his house help, we can safely say that thankfully the disease has not spread. Let us hope that the decisive move by the NPHI immediately to quarantine Mr. Blama and his domestic worker at the Redemption Hospital has led to limited exposure in Liberia.
The serious approach which Liberians and our institutions have taken against COVID-19 is paying off. Yesterday there were long lines of screening at several institutional offices, including banks. There were hand-washing buckets everywhere, equipped with chemicals, sanitizers or soap and everyone was compelled to wash hands. Many hotels and other offices had enforced temperature taking.
All of these measures have helped to control the virus and prevent our people from becoming afflicted by it. But let this not be a situation of the white chicken and the palm oil. We should not allow this progress to make us complacent and forget our former tribulations with Ebola, by letting our guard down. As long as there is coronavirus anywhere in the world, God forbid, it can show up in Liberia. That is why we as a country and a people have to leverage our prior experience with contagious diseases and show the world how to nip it in the bud. Coronavirus Must Go!
We urge the National Public Health Institute to continue setting down and enforcing rules and regulations, in order to encourage our people and institutions to take no chances.
We are grateful so far that no epidemic has taken place in our country, and pray that our people will continue to take all precautions, such as constantly washing hands, seriously limiting contact with others, avoiding butting, handshaking, hugging and other intimate physical contact.
The Ministry of Health, the NPHIL and all hospitals, clinics and other health and medical facilities should strictly enforce all precautionary procedures everywhere—in banks, offices, on motorbikes, in motor vehicles, etc. We commend the Ministry of Transport for enforcing the limited occupancy in buses, taxis and pem-pems, to avoid overcrowding and unnecessary touching.
All of these will help to prevent the coronavirus from spreading amongst us and keep us healthy, mentally and emotionally sound.