Liberia: Health Authorities Alarm Possible Surge of Covid-19


MONROVIA – Liberia’s strides in significantly curbing the spread coronavirus, breaking transmission and getting back to normal life now suffers a major setback amid the rise of new infections, including the discovery of a new variant of the covid-19.

The Incident Management System (IMS) has disclosed cases of the variant B117 in the country. B117, the coronavirus variant was first detected in the United Kingdom in December last year.

The 28-day risk of death for the B117 COVID-19 variant is 64% higher than for previously circulating strains in people older than 30 years, a UK study finds.

The study was led by the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

The IMS disclosed that the index case of the new variant has no recent travel history.

Rising Cases in Liberia

The IMS has reported on 31 confirmed cases have been reported as of June 13 after testing 211 samples.

Out of these 31 confirmed cases, 26 were outgoing travelers.

This week recorded the highest number of cases in a single week since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country – 202.

Cumulatively, Liberia has now confirmed 2,484 cases after testing 111, 939 samples from onset of the outbreak; from January 2021 to date, a total of 566 cases are confirmed.

The breakdown of cases over the past two days: 9th June: 350 samples tested with 71 confirmed cases; 10th June: 211 samples tested with 31 confirmed cases;

The number patients admitted at the Star base is now 31; most of them in severe form. Six (6) deaths are recorded this week (2 at the treatment center and 4 in other referral hospitals in Monrovia).

There are 109 confirmed cases in home care, 303 active cases (nearly 95% in Montserrado county) and 458 contacts.

Status of the counties has slightly changed with 8 counties in preparedness, two counties in count-down and five counties in response (Bong, Margibi, Montserrado, Maryland and Nimba).

FrontPageAfrica gathered from the IMS that the 38 confirmed cases being treated at the Star Base treatment center, 34 cases are severe with some on oxygen. According to the information gathered, it costs up to US$2000 per patient to keep these patients on oxygen and treatment until they are fully recovered.

“If we are not careful and we keep receiving more cases, we are going to be overwhelmed and the recent cases are speedily rising,” FPA gathered from the IMS.

An IMS source further informed FrontPageAfrica that President George Weah has been briefed on the state of the new infections. It is, however, not clear whether there will be a new declaration of public health emergency which could lead to the restriction of some public services and public gatherings.

Causes of Spike

According to the IMS, lack of adherence to the prevention measures coupled with non-compliance to protocols on home-based and weak cooperation with case investigation and contact tracing teams.

“Some of these contacts give the case investigators wrong contact numbers. Some of them do not stay home as advised, some give wrong addresses,” the IMS disclosed.

The IMS further disclosed that the parties and social events are the main super spreaders of the coronavirus in Liberia.

Last week, several passengers traveling on SN Brussels flight were barred from traveling due to the positive Covid19 tests. The news came as a shock to most of them.

Most of those turned away had taken the tests on Saturday, June 5, 2021 and told to wait for 72 hours before receiving their results, the required period stipulated by the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL). However, to the dismay of many, the results were not given until at least one hour before the flight was due to take off, turning away scores who had showed up for the flight.

Authorities at NPHIL say, those who are asymptomatic will be given home-based care while those showing signs of difficulty in breathing and other severe signs are taken to the National Infectious Disease Center on Star Base, Bong mines.

But what remains a challenge now is getting those asymptomatic patients remain in their homes for treatment.

To curb the spread, the IMS has re-activated the Montserrado County Incident Management System; revised protocol for in-coming travelers (e.g.: Isolation of travelers from five countries); continue with testing for travelers and volunteers as well as enhance surveillance and maintain treatment of critical cases at Star Base.