Liberia: Rep. Richard Koon Wants Imposition of Curfew in Montserrado, Margibi Counties Amid Increased COVID-19 Cases
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Representative Richard Nagbe Koon (District #11, Montserrado County) is seeking the indulgence of the 54th Legislature to impose a partial curfew in Montserrado and Margibi Counties for two weeks as an effective way of discouraging large gathering at night.
The proposed curfew, Rep. Koon said should run from 9 p.m to 6 a.m., and medical and security personnel, as well as journalists should be exempted from the curfew.
Rep. Koon’s request comes in the wake of an already existing national health emergency instituted by Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina S. Jallah, declaring Montserrado and Margibi Counties infected areas.
Dr. Jallah, in the wake of the confirmation of the third COVID-19 case in Liberia in March, announced the closure of all private and public schools, universities, colleges and other institutions of learning for 21 days as of March 21, 2020 within two counties.
The ban also covers all religious services, bars, night clubs, casinos, betting centers, cinemas, video clubs, entertainment centers, private and public beaches, barber shops and beauty salons.
However, Rep. Koon said he has observed that most of the preventive measures instituted by the government aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus are violated at night, and the curfew would be the most effective ways in ensuring the measures are observed.
“Law and order are totally broken down at night hours. The motorcyclists and commercial drivers often break the rules at night hours, especially between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” he said.
“People are still meeting in night clubs and other entertainment centers and are overlooking this thing [COVID-19]. We have six cases now and it clearly indicates that it is getting worse. So, we have to do all in our weak way as a country to make sure that we stop this thing from spreading any further.”
The Montserrado County District #11 lawmaker’s request is contained in a communication addressed to the Plenary through House Speaker Bhofal Chambers.
However, he told reporters that House Speaker Bhofal Chambers has refused to place his communication on the floor for discussion and subsequent action.
In his communication, Rep. Koon noted that although the virus has not widely spread as compared to other countries, there is need to introduce tougher measures to avert the spread of the virus.
He warned that Liberia should not repeat the missteps of most advanced countries which ignored the potential of the virus and failed to take early preventive steps and are now overwhelmed and playing “catch up.”
“As direct Representatives of the people, it is not proper to see the country reach a state of devastation before taking additional steps to protecting the generation from going up in flames,” he warned.
According to him, if the curfew is to come in place, he would want everyone to get their essentials before the curfew takes effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily after a presidential pronouncement; while during the curfew, no individual will be allowed to leave their homes and shop, night clubs and businesses would be closed to avoid mass gathering.