Liberia: Social Distancing Rule Ignored At Monrovia City Corporation

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Monrovia – Social distancing and gathering of not more than 10 persons were not observed on Monday at the Monrovia City Corporation despite a Ministry of Health’s directive, FrontPage Africa can confirmed.

Barely a day following the health emergency regulations, FrontPage Africa observed the presence of a crowd of over 100 persons at the Monrovia City hall on Monday, March 23, prompting concerns that the MCC is violating public health regulations.
MOH, on March 22, banned the gathering of people including in churches, mosques, entertainment centers, amongst others, while also warning against public gathering of more than 10 persons.

“Large gathering to include sporting activities, party of more than 10 people are hereby order banned, wedding and funerals will be allowed with no more than 10 people in attendance and they should keep a distance of six feet apart from each other at all times,” the read the MOH regulations.
But the gathering of over a hundred people at the Monrovia City hall on Monday raised new concerns about the regulations not being adhered to by the city government headed by Mayor Jefferson Koijee, one of President George Mannah Weah’s key allies.

President Weah recently issued a strong warning, threatening to take action against public officials who would be caught in defilement of the health emergency guidelines for the prevention and containment of the Coronavirus.
When asked why the MCC had gathered the crowd, Pekeleh Paye Gbuapaye, Media Relations Officer of the city corporation who admitted that the gathering was held, said that all requisite preventive measures were observed by the MCC.
“It was overcrowded but these are caregivers and mobilizers who are to carry out awareness in various communities,” Gbuapaye said.
“They needed to be given a specific message, that’s why we gathered them at the MCC, but they observed all of the procedures to include hand washing and spacing of six feet each.”
Mr. Gbuapaye furthered that the gathering of the workers was also intended to distribute materials that would be used for community awareness.

“Even if we were to allow them to assemble in their respective communities, it was still going to be the same,” Gbuapaye said in response to question about finding the best option of avoiding the gathering a crowd.
The Liberia National Police (LNP) said they are on high alert to enforce the government’s 21 days partial lockdown – a move intended to avert the further spread of the COVID-19.

When asked about the LNP position on the gathering of a crowd at city hall on Monday, Police spokesman Moses Carter, told FrontPageAfrica that he was not unaware of the presence of a huge crowd at city hall.
“To the best of my knowledge, the meeting was a taskforce meeting for those who were to carryout awareness in the field,” Carter said via mobile phone.

“I didn’t see that huge crowd and if I was to, I’m sure the LNP was to move in to disperse the crowd.”
Health experts have warned against huge gathering of people with the World Health Organization warning that the virus is more likely to spread within a population density that is high.

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