-As country’s active Coronavirus cases reach 300
MONROVIA – Health authorities have confirmed that Liberia for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, has recorded the variant strain of the Covid-19 virus.
Liberia’s Minister of Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina S. Jallah made the disclosure Thursday, 10 June, while addressing journalists at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT’s) regular press briefing.
She reported that the B.1.1.7 new strain variant is dangerous and has a faster infection rate than previous strain experienced during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 outbreak in Liberia last year.
Dr. Jallah, who is also chairperson of Liberia’s Incident Management System, added that currently, Liberia is experiencing an exponential surge which requires the urgent attention of all if Liberia should still be on the path of COVID-19 recovery.
She noted the continued surge can be attributed to lack of adherence to prevention measures instituted by the Incident Management System, non-compliance/adherence to protocols on home-based care and weak cooperation with case investigation and contact tracing teams.
Health Minister Dr. Jallah named the continued attitude of individuals conducting self-treatment/medication at home contrary to national protocols, and attendance at social events and parties, as contributing factors to the surge.
Dr. Jallah said over the last 450 days since March 16, 2020 when Liberia recorded its first COVID-19 case, the Incident Management System, has recorded a total of 2,453 confirmed cases, out of which 608 of these cases were confirmed in 2021 with 300 active cases currently in Liberia, resulting into 92 confirmed COVID-19 deaths amounting to 28 cases (21-confirmed & 7-suspects) in treatment unit and 89 cases from home-based care, while 2,058 persons have recovered out of a total 120,000 COVID-19 Laboratory tests conducted.
The Liberian minister of health stated that currently, the Incident Management System, in its pursuit to contained further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has among others re-activated the Montserrado County Incident Management System, revised protocols for in-coming travelers, including isolation of travelers from five heavily burdened COVID-19 infectious countries.
Dr. Jallah disclosed that other measures in place at the moment is continuation of COVID-19 testing for travelers and volunteers as well as enhanced surveillance, maintaining the treatment of critical cases at ‘Star Base’ precautionary Observation Center, the scale-up case investigation and following-up contacts and the management of home-based care for moderate COVID-19 cases.
“If Liberia must continue on path of reducing COVID-19 infection, we call on all, be it Liberians, or residents alike to continue the adherence to health protocols including safety measures; Go for voluntary testing, seek early treatment once confirmed, disclose contacts for follow-up and testing, and get vaccinated”. Dr. Jallah said.
Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Kateh, also spoke at the MICAT Thursday’s press conference, reemphasizing adherence to the health protocols by wearing mask, washing of hands and avoiding crowded places.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kateh frowned on some positive COVID-19 patients currently being attended to at home-based care on violating the procedures and protocols of treatment at home base care facilities.
“The government under the public health law has the remedy to ensuring adherence to health regulations and protocols if this would endanger the lives of others,” Dr. Kateh stressed, adding, “We don’t intend to be arbitrary but this renewed surge is serious and required the urgent adherence of all to ensuring Liberia remain safe.”
Dr. Kateh continued: “With this discovery of the variant string, nobody will be allowed to go at the Airport out a satisfied COVID-19 test result and certificate.”
Pillar Lead, Case Management, Dr. Jerry Brown, for his part, said that currently Liberia is managing 118 COVID-19 cases both at treatment unit and Home Base Care.
Dr. Brown said the lead pillar is managing 89 COVID-19 cases at Home Base Care, while 28 persons were being treated at the Star of the Sea, Treatment Unit, totaling five Lebanese, two Indians, one Ghanaian and one Filipino.
The J.F.K. Chief Medical Officer, stated that denial of positive persons and refusal to take treatment remain one of the critical aspect of Liberia’s response efforts.
“The new surge is alarming and we want our people to begin to take this seriously. Let stop this conspiracy theory and begin to bring out the hand washing buckets once more, said Dr. Brown, who stressed that “The early we adhere to the health protocols, Liberia will get back on the path of safety and we can enjoy again as a people and country.”