As SOE Subsides: MOH Revises COVID-19 Health Guidelines
In the wake of increasing cases and deaths from the Coronavirus disease in Liberia, and given the knowledge about the spread of the virus in the communities, its modes of transmission and means of prevention, the Ministry of Health has announced a revised set of national health emergency guidelines, in keeping with the health emergency declared on March 21, 2020, pursuant to Chapter 14 of the Public Health Law of Liberia.
Under the revised declaration, the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, has designated all 15 counties of the Republic of Liberia as affected areas, in which the following rules and regulations must apply immediately and remain in effect until otherwise modified. The declaration, she said, will be updated based on the prevailing situation in the COVID-19 response.
According to her, all persons shall strictly follow and abide by all health protocols to protect against the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia, which include the following: All persons shall wear a face mask covering both the nose and mouth at all times when in public place and when attending to sick persons. For clarity, public place is any place accessible to members of the public such as market places, shopping centers, health facilities, institutions of learning, hotels, entertainment centers and sports bars or video clubs, government buildings, business establishments, ports of entry and transport vehicles, including taxis, buses, keh-keh and motorcycles, etc.; All government institutions shall adopt a no-mask-no-entry, no-service policy; Social physical distancing of a minimum of three (3) feet from each other at all times is hereby imposed; Community and traditional leaders shall ensure the wearing of face masks in their communities; Mandatory hand washing with soap and clean water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer is hereby ordered. Homes and all establishments, public and private places shall ensure the implementation of this protocol at all times; all institutions of learning are to remain closed as health authorities work with the Ministry of Education for reopening. In the main time, 12 graders who are in school preparing for WASSCE must continue to strictly follow the health protocols listed in count 1 above; churches, mosques and all other centers of worship and persons in attendance shall follow the health protocols listed in count 1 above; large gatherings, including parties of more than 10 people, sporting events, weddings, and funerals are allowed provided persons in attendance follow the health protocols listed in count 1 above; restaurants and cookshops shall be opened provided persons and staff in attendance follow the health protocols listed in count 1 above; barber shops and beauty salons and persons and staff in attendance shall follow the health protocols listed in count 1 above; banks shall only allow ten people at a time in the service areas and those outside the banks should keep a distance of at least three feet apart from each other while awaiting service. Persons and staff in attendance shall follow the health protocols listed in count 1 above; public transports: taxis shall carry no more than three passengers in the back and one passenger in the front. Keh-keh should carry only two passengers in the back and no passenger in the front. All drivers/riders and passengers shall follow the protocols listed under count 1 above. Compulsory mask wearing is hereby imposed in all public transports; all ports of entry shall follow directives from the President via the Ministry of Transport and the Liberian Civil Aviation Authority; all supermarkets and large stores must insist on mask wearing and allow only 20 customers at a time, while those customers are to observe social distancing by being a minimum of three feet apart at all times. Those outside shall remain outside and stand a minimum of three feet apart as well, as they await their turn to be served. All businesses are required to find innovative ways of implementing count 1; all health facilities, health institutions and pharmacies will remain open for routine services, with social distancing practices. All safety rules and procedures at hospitals and all facilities shall be strictly adhered to. Mandatory mask wearing is imposed at all health institutions; all marketers and buyers are required to abide by the health protocols listed in count 1; all street sellers are required to abide by the health protocols listed in count 1; community dwellers are asked to please report people who show signs and symptoms of the coronavirus such as (coughing, fever, difficulty breathing) in their communities to relevant health and security authorities. Please calls (4455); night clubs and bars shall remain closed; other related entrainment centers, such as businesses dealing alcoholic beverages shall closed at 9:00 p.m.; official information and communication on the COVID-19 virus shall only be announced by the MOH, NPHIL and MICAT.
Minister Jallah noted that all citizens, residents and visitors are required to abide by these rules. She said violation of these set of rules shall be dealt with, in keeping with Section 14.6 of the Public Health Law. which states in part, “Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter or any of the rules made thereunder shall, upon conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars or to imprisonment not exceeding thirty days, or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
She pointed out that the mandatory mask-wearing imposed above applies to all persons, including public officials.
The Ministry of Justice, as head of the joint security shall, in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, enforce these rules without prejudice. “With your help, we can, we shall and we must kick COVID-19 out of Liberia,” Minister Jallah noted.